Sidney man pleads guilty to vehicular homicide

By Jim Painter - For the Sidney Daily News

SIDNEY – Through plea negotiations, a Sidney man has pleaded guilty to a count of aggravated vehicular homicide in the death of a Conover man, who was a passenger in his car killed in a June 24, 2017, crash.

On Monday, Chadwick R. Amburgey, 37, 13906 State Route 29, through his attorney Ronald Tompkins, of Urbana, changed his plea to guilty in Shelby County Common Pleas Court. The case originally had four charges involving the incident.

Judge James Stevenson found Amburgey guilty of the charge, a third-degree felony, and ordered he remain free on a recognizance bond. His sentencing is set for March 1.

Originally, Amburgey was charged with a second-degree felony in the aggravated vehicular homicide charge plus three charges involving driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and for having a blood alcohol content level of .104, all first-degree misdemeanors.

According to Sidney Police, the man killed in the two-vehicle crash along state Route 47, near Wilson Health Hospital, was Michael Vest, 35, who was pronounced dead at the scene by the Shelby County Coroner.

According to police, Amburgey was driving a 2007 Chevy Impala westbound on state Route 47 at 11:12 p.m. His vehicle struck a minivan which was in the process of making a right turn from Royan Avenue onto state Route 47.

After striking the minivan, Amburgey’s vehicle hit the guardrail and came to rest along the right side of state Route 47. Vest was one of three occupants of the Impala.

The minivan was driven by Stephanie Dowty, 27, of Piqua, with three passengers.

In another case, Stevenson approved a request by Shelby County prosecutors to dismiss charges against an Indiana woman for her part in the armed robbery of a Lima pharmacy on April 26.

Abigail E. Lee, 26, Indianapolis, Indiana, had been charged with aggravated robbery with firearm specifications, a first-degree felony in Shelby County. Lee recently pled guilty to an obstructing justice charge, a third-degree felony, in Allen County, in exchange for cooperating with investigators regarding her co-defendants.

According to a report from the Ohio State Highway Patrol Piqua Post, Lee was driving when she and three others were involved in a vehicle crash at 6:40 a.m. April 26 on southbound Interstate 75 near mile marker 87 while returning to Indianapolis.

A large number of pills were found along with a loaded handgun hidden under the driver’s seat. The report notes that 2,512 pills of 24 varieties with a street value of $18,985 was confiscated. Authorities soon determined they were involved in the Lima robbery.

The co-defendants, Senneca Blaze Rivers, 18, Treyvon E. Manning, 19, and, Quintez Hawkins, 19, have received prison terms for their involvement in the crime. According to published reports, Rivers leapt over a counter at a Walgreen’s store, and ordered a pharmacist to open a safe containing oxycodone at gunpoint.

In other cases:

• Brett Taylor, 34, 5977 Hardin-Wapak Road, pleaded guilty to a charge of domestic violence, a fifth-degree felony during a recent pretrial. His sentencing is scheduled for March 1.

Court records indicated that on Aug. 25 Taylor assaulted his wife with a miniature baseball bat causing injury. He was originally charged with domestic violence of the fourth-degree with previous such convictions noted. He had also been charged with having a weapon under disability, a third-degree felony, when he had a 12-guage shotgun in his possession.

• Kenneth Heaton, 36, Middletown, pleaded guilty to a charge of failure to comply with the order of a police officer, a third-degree felony, during a recent pretrial hearing. He will be sentenced on March 1.

Court records indicate Heaton struck an Ohio State Highway Patrol cruiser to flee.

• Durbin P. Lawson, 60, 3120 State Route 66, Houston, pleaded guilty to a charge of obstructing official business, a second-degree misdemeanor, during plea negotiations. He will be sentenced on March 1.

According to authorities, Lawson attempted to conceal the fact Michael Cotterman was in his house when questioned by Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies.

• Robert E. Blankenship, 59, 4662 Hardin-Wapak Road, entered a plea of guilty on a charge of attempted possession of criminal tools, a first-degree misdemeanor, during plea negotiations recently. He will be sentenced on March 1.

He was arrested on May 24 with Methamphetamines in his possession.

By Jim Painter

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.