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WARREN Grand jury to hear case in fatal crash



Published: Fri, February 15, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Family of victim seeks punishment for driver.

WARREN -- A Trumbull County grand jury will decide if Christopher Denno, 23, of Warren recklessly caused the car crash that killed his best friend.

After a preliminary hearing Thursday, Judge Terry Ivancheck of Warren Municipal Court determined there is probable cause for a grand jury to consider aggravated vehicular homicide charges against Denno.

At 1:40 a.m. July 28, Denno's 1996 red Camaro crashed into a telephone pole on North Road S.E., police reports say.

He was seriously injured.

His friend, Jeremy Roddy, 25, of Howland, a passenger in the car, was killed.

Witness: A Niles man driving home from work in Warren said he saw the red Camaro speed ahead of him on North Road moments before the accident.

"I honestly didn't think they would make it around the first bend," said Shawn McKinley, 20. "As I came around the next bend, I saw glass everywhere and smoke."

Prosecutors would have to demonstrate that Denno acted recklessly in order to provse a charge of vehicular homicide, a third-degree felony, said Nick Graham, assistant Warren law director.

Alcohol factor: The act is considered more severe if alcohol is involved.

A blood test done in the hospital on Denno a few hours after the accident revealed a blood-alcohol level slightly below the legal limit, Graham said.

Roddy's relatives say they have been lobbying prosecutors to pursue charges against Denno.

"I want him to know what he has done," said Pamela Miller, Roddy's mother.

"I don't want him to go free like my son's death was nothing."




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