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Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

Area woman charged with vehicular homicide

By Shelley Grieshop
WAPAKONETA - A St. Marys woman with a prior drunk driving record was indicted for an alcohol-related traffic crash on U.S. 33 on Nov. 17 that killed a local woman and injured her 3-year-old son.
Alissa L. Townsend, 48, 1109 Nagel St., was charged with two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, second- and third-degree felonies, and operating a vehicle (OVI) under the influence, a first-degree misdemeanor. She faces a maximum sentence of 131/2 years in prison.
Townsend appeared in court Thursday and was placed on a $400,000 bond. She currently remains in jail. Auglaize County Common Pleas Court Judge Frederick Pepple gave her until Thursday to notify the court of the name of an attorney who will represent her, but as of this morning she had not, court personnel said.
According to a report from the Wapakoneta post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Townsend was speeding when she drove her car into the rear of an SUV along the four-lane highway of U.S. 33, near County Road 33A, at 12:50 p.m. The SUV, driven by Heather J. Schaub, 40, of Wapakoneta, skidded across the median and rolled into the opposite lane of traffic.
Witnesses said Townsend's car was traveling in excess of 90 mph when it struck the SUV.
Schaub, who reportedly was returning from a grocery shopping trip in St. Marys, was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. Her son and only child, Fletcher Thomas, was taken to a Lima hospital where he was dismissed the following day.
Townsend was treated then released at Joint Township District Memorial Hospital, St. Marys.
Townsend was driving with a valid operator's license, the state patrol confirmed. She has previous convictions for speeding in 2000 and 2001. In September 2005, she was charged with OVI, endangering children and open container of alcohol in a vehicle, however, the two latter charges were dismissed in a plea bargain. She pleaded no contest to the OVI charge and was ordered to attend a 72-hour driver intervention program and a victim impact panel presentation.
Schaub worked the last nine years as an administrative secretary for the city of Wapakoneta.
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