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Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

Passenger pleads no contest

By Daily Standard Staff
By BETTY LAWRENCE
and MARGIE WUEBKER
news dept@dailystandard.com
A Celina-area man pleaded no contest Monday morning in Celina Municipal Court to a charge of obstructing justice stemming from a March 15 traffic accident that claimed the lives of four local men.
Kyle Schmitmeyer, 21, 7915 Clover Four Road, will return to court at 9 a.m. Aug. 18 for sentencing of the second-degree misdemeanor.
"Right now, as far as penalties, I have no idea at this point," Auglaize County Municipal Court Judge Gary Herman said. Herman is presiding after Judge James Scheer recused himself from the case.
Defense attorney Eric Wilson of St. Marys initially submitted a written not guilty plea on Schmitmeyer's behalf. The no contest plea, which allows the defendant to stipulate to certain facts in the case without admitting guilt, came about after several pretrial hearings. He remains free on bond after his family posted 10 percent of the $75,000 bond imposed earlier.
Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Matt Fox gave a narrative of events giving rise to the charge.
Schmitmeyer was a passenger in the vehicle driven by Nick Schwieterman, 22, of Chickasaw, who allegedly ran a stop sign at the intersection of Brockman Road and County Road 716A and struck a car occupied by four members of the Marion Local High School Class of 2007.
Pronounced dead at the scene were driver Jordan Moeller and passengers Jordan Diller, Brad Roeckner and Jordan Goettemoeller.
The obstruction charge stems from Schmitmeyer's demeanor at the accident site. He reportedly denied being in one of the cars involved and interfered with deputies during the course of their investigation.
Approximately a dozen family members of the four deceased men were in court Monday but said nothing. They will be permitted to make victim impact statements prior to sentencing.
Additional online story on this date
The 1.05 inch of rain that fell overnight will help area crops, but more rain is needed, says local weather forecaster and farmer Dennis Howick.
"It was enough to help, but more is needed in another week," he said. [More]
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