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YOUNGSTOWN Jury to consider indicting woman



Published: Thu, April 18, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The young woman's lawyer said she's having a tough time.

By PATRICIA MEADE

VINDICATOR CRIME REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Megan Buchanan leaned on a crutch and held back tears as her two aggravated vehicular homicide charges were bound over to a Mahoning County grand jury.

The felony charges against the 19-year-old Salem woman were transferred Wednesday from Youngstown Municipal Court by Judge Robert A. Douglas Jr.

The judge held on to two misdemeanor DUI charges for the time being and will dismiss them if Buchanan is indicted on the felonies.

Boardman attorney Mark Lavelle waived his client's right to a preliminary hearing and asked that the charges be bound over. He said it's too early to decide if his client will reach a plea agreement.

Passengers died

Buchanan is accused of crashing a Chevrolet Corsica during the predawn hours of Jan. 3 on Market Street. Her passengers, Nicole Barlow, 23, and Donel Morlan, 20, both Salem women, died from their injuries.

Buchanan suffered a leg injury and spent about a month in a hospital after the crash. She had to use a wheelchair for a while.

"She's having a tough time," Lavelle said Wednesday. "She's not able to do anything."

At the time of the crash, Detective Sgt. Dave Lomax said the Corsica had been southbound on Market Street, either alongside or in front of a Honda, when it entered a curve in the road near Wayne Avenue at high speed.

The Corsica went off the right side of the road and struck a utility pole with such force that the car spun 180 degrees and landed back in the path of the Honda, he said.

The Honda then slammed head-on into the Corsica. Both speed and alcohol contributed to the crash, Lomax has said.

The Corsica was destroyed, it's front end gone.

Those inside the Honda, which had its air bags deploy, were not injured. The driver, Scott A. Ensign, 23, of West Boulevard, Boardman was charged with DUI.

Patrolmen Chris Bonacci and Jerry Fulmer noted on the report that the pavement was dry, no adverse weather was a factor and traffic was light in the business section of Market Street where the crash took place.

Pleaded innocent

Ensign has pleaded innocent and his pretrial has been reset to May 20 in municipal court.

Police said they found Ensign leaning against a fence crying at the crash scene. He told the officers that the Corsica had been racing alongside his car, with the women inside making faces.

meade@vindy.com




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