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Friday, June 2nd, 2017

Coldwater woman gets 17 months in prison on charges from hit-skip

By Ed Gebert
CELINA - A Coldwater woman whose car struck a girl who was walking to school on Nov. 17 has been sentenced to 17 months in prison.
Visiting judge Jonathan P. Hein handed down the sentence on Thursday in Mercer County Common Pleas Court to Suzanne Michelle Gibson, 49, who pleaded no contest in April to fourth-degree felony vehicular assault and fifth-degree felony failure to stop after an accident. Hein sentenced Gibson to 17 months on the vehicular assault count and 11 months for failure to stop after an accident. The two penalties are to be served concurrently. Gibson also received a mandatory 6-month driver's license suspension.
Mercer County Prosecutor Matt Fox stated that he cannot remember ever using the words "miracle" or "miraculous" while arguing a case.
"But it's appropriate in this case," he said. "The young lady that was struck by the car driven by Gibson did nothing wrong; was on the sidewalk ready for a long day at school; suffered serious, significant injuries before she was able to get inside, but it was miraculous she wasn't killed."
During the sentencing, Gibson agreed that the girl's survival had been a miracle. According to court records, Gibson left the scene to drop off her child and then left the school. When she was located at her home, prescription medication was found to be present in her system.
Gibson asserted that she remembered making breakfast that morning and getting ready to take her child to school. However, the time between getting into the car until returning home was gone from her memory, she said.
Defense attorney Judy Koesters presented a rehabilitation plan to the court and asked for placement at House of Hope, but Fox stated, "This is a serious matter, and there needs to be consequences for this matter. I'll leave those consequences to the court."
Hein opted to send Gibson to the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville but did not rule out a possible early release and transition to the defense's rehabilitation plan.
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