Alcohol, cigarettes' effect on fetus limits evidence in Zorger homicide case

YOUNGSTOWN — A 26-year-old Canfield woman pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated vehicular homicide Thursday for her role in a car accident that left her fetus dead and killed a 55-year-old woman.

Raechel Zorger entered the plea in front of Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court and will be sentenced at 9 a.m. Dec. 20.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol said Zorger swerved left on Detwiler Road in Beaver Township on April 12, hitting a car driven by Darla Schumacher, 55, of Detwiler Road. The patrol said Zorger had a blood-alcohol level of 0.259. The legal limit in Ohio is 0.08.

Zorger also was charged with another count of aggravated vehicular homicide and one misdemeanor count of child endangering in the death of her unborn child.

Those two charges were dismissed by prosecutors Thursday when evidence about the fetus’ viability was not permitted.

Prosecutors had requested medical records, but the judge did not grant the requests until a deadline had passed. The requests were prompted after a coroner’s report in August stated the fetus weighed 377 grams — or 13.29 ounces — and was 23 weeks and five days old.

“... The fetus was so small ... giving rise to the viability issue and question as to the gestational age, due to [Zorger’s] own action of reportedly smoking 20 cigarettes a day and drinking alcohol during her pregnancy.

For the complete story, read Friday's Vindicator or

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