SIDNEY — Two Shelby County men charged with similar crimes learned their fate Wednesday afternoon in Shelby County Common Pleas Court.
John Logan McGee, 20, of Fort Loramie, and Carl M. Graber, 34, of Sidney, were sentenced by Judge James Stevenson for their actions which caused the deaths of two people.
McGee was originally charged with a second-degree felony aggravated vehicular homicide, with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.137 percent (the legal limit in Ohio is 0.08); third-degree felony aggravated vehicular homicide; and failure to stop after an accident, a third-degree felony, after an accident on Nov. 29, 2014.
Around 3 a.m. on the morning of the accident, McGee reportedly struck and killed 18-year-old Minster High School senior Austin J. Brackman.
According to the accident reports, Brackman was walking southbound in the 12000 block of Schmitmeyer-Baker Road in McLean Township. McGee, driving southbound in a 2008 Mazda 6, reportedly failed to see Brackman and struck him with his vehicle. McGee left the scene of the accident before law enforcement arrived, then returned.
He originally pleaded not guilty to all three charges but changed his plea on July 9 to guilty under the conditions that the state dismiss the vehicular homicide charges and change the language in the third charge to say “attempt,” making it a fourth-degree felony. Another condition of the plea agreement was that the state recommend community control.
The dismissal of the vehicular homicide charges were due in part to the amazing forgiveness Brackman’s family gave, Stevenson said. He said McGee should be thankful.
In McGee’s statement before sentencing, he apologized for what happened.
Taking into consideration that McGee had other incidents involving underage alcohol consumption after the incident, Stevenson sentenced McGee to five years community control, ordered him to complete drug and alcohol counseling, pay a $500 fine, and his driver’s license will be suspended for six months. He will also have to serve a 60 day jail sentence to commence Sept. 23, or fill out the proper paper work for work release.
In addition, Stevenson will ask the police departments to create a program so that McGee can go to local schools and talk to students about the dangers of drunk driving.
Graber, 34, of Sidney, was charged with two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, one a first-degree felony and the other a second-degree felony and a charge of failure to stop after an accident, a third-degree felony.
Graber originally pleaded not guilty to all three charges but changed his plea on June 4 to guilty under the conditions that the sentences run concurrently and the two aggravated vehicular homicide charges be absorbed into one second-degree felony. The maximum prison time he could get was 13 years. And the maximum fine he could get was $35,000.
Graber was the suspected driver in a Nov. 8 crash that killed Sidney woman Brittany Elliott, 23. She was pronounced dead at the scene of the one-vehicle accident that occurred at 11:24 p.m. in the 1000 block of Lindsey Road in Turtle Creek Township.
Graber was driving a 2003 Ford F-150 south on Lindsey Road and went over the CSX Railroad tracks at a high rate of speed, according to a release from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. He lost control of the vehicle, which went off the west side of the road, striking a tree. Alcohol and speed were suspected factors in the crash.
After the crash, Graber fled the scene, and officials sought the public’s help in locating him. Early on the afternoon of Nov. 10, a call came in reporting he was sighted at Walmart and was walking on Vandemark Road toward Russell Road. He was approached by sheriff’s deputies within minutes and was taken into custody without incident.
At the sentencing on Wednesday, Elliott’s sister spoke in front of the court room about her sister and Graber’s history of violence. She asked the court for the maximum sentence.
Elliott and Graber have a daughter together and he has other children as well. In his statement to the court prior to sentencing he said that he just wants it to be over with so he can get back to his family.
Stevenson noted this is Graber’s first felony offence, but he has a significant criminal record, including four OVI’s, a weapons charge, a menacing charge, several domestic violence incidents and other alcohol-related charges.
Stevenson sentenced him to seven years for the aggravated vehicular homicide charge and 36 months for the charge of failure to stop after an accident, to be served concurrently.
His driver’s license will also be suspended for 10 years and he will have three years mandatory community control after completing his prison sentence.
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