Man gets 3 years in vehicular homicide case that claimed life of 10-year-oldPublished 11:22am Wednesday, November 28, 2012
JACKSON — The man who admitted to causing the death of a South Point child two years ago will spend the next three years in prison
On Wednesday in a Jackson Common Pleas Courtroom, Christopher Haines, 32, of Oak Hill was sentenced to four years and 11 months with credit for 23 months time served in the death of 10-year-old Angel McGinnis.
In August Haines pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated vehicular homicide of the child and three counts of aggravated vehicular assault after the trial was postponed five times.
At that time Paul Scarcella, special prosecutor for the case from the Ohio Attorney General’s office, said there was a negotiated plea deal with Haines that the family of the young girl agreed to.
“This innocent child was killed because Haines carelessly took his eyes off the road to read a text message,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said through a spokesperson after the sentencing. “No text message is worth a life. Drivers should remember Angel McGinnis anytime they think about concentrating on their phones instead of their driving.”
Initially the aggravated vehicular homicide charge was a Felony 2 and the three aggravated vehicular assault charges were Felony 3. Had Haines been found guilty in a trial on those charges, his maximum sentence would have been a total of 26 years.
The plea deal reduced the homicide charge to a Felony 3 and the assault charges to Felony 4 with the reckless specification coming from his viewing a text message.
On Dec. 18, 2010 Haines was driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee on State Route 93 when that vehicle rear-ended a car driven by Marsha McGinnis of South Point, mother of Angel, who was a passenger.
The McGinnis’ car was stopped in the southbound lane of the highway at the 10-mile marker because the vehicle in front of it was making a turn.
The impact from Haines’ car sent McGinnis’ vehicle left of center where it was struck by a car driven by Deborah Miller, who was northbound on State Route 93.
Also in McGinnis’ car was her son Brice. All members of the McGinnis family were taken from the accident scene to Cabell Huntington Hospital.
Miller was taken to Grant Medical Center in Columbus by MedFlight, but was discharged the next day.
Brice was released from Cabell the day of the accident while his mother was hospitalized in good condition for a short period of time. Haines was not injured in the accident.
Angel, who was a student at South Point Elementary, died at Cabell the day of the accident.
Haines’ license was also suspended for three years following his release from prison.