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City man dies from injuries in car crash

A Rush, Ky.

Thursday, December 02, 1999

A Rush, Ky., woman will face a wanton murder charge for the death of an Ironton resident following an automobile accident Monday.

Albert J. Tomondi, 68, died at 2:15 this morning in Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington, W.Va., from injuries sustained when his 1998 Honda Civic was hit in the right front by a 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity driven by Dorothy Bryan, 26, at about 10:08 p.m. Monday, Ashland Police Department Patrolman Donald Stump said.

"(Mrs. Bryan) was traveling south on 15th Street, the wrong way on a northbound street, and struck unit No. 2 (Tomondi) at the intersection of 15th Street and Carter," Stump said.

Mrs. Bryan was originally charged with assault in the first degree, which is the highest felony assault charge, said Jan Michel, supervisor of the criminal division of Boyd County Circuit Court offices.

She was arraigned Wednesday, but will not be asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty until the formal arraignment at 9 a.m. Friday, Mrs. Michel added.

"She was brought in," Mrs. Michel said. "The charges were read. She was asked if she wanted an attorney. She said she would hire an attorney, and bond was set at $100,000."

Mrs. Bryan continues to be held in the Boyd County Detention Center, Stump said.

The assault charge has not yet been lifted, but it could be dismissed once Mrs. Bryan is brought up on murder charges, said Melissa Lambert, secretary for Boyd Commonwealth’s Attorney Stewart Schneider.

"I’m assuming that charge will be dismissed at some point," Mrs. Lambert said. "We are planning on doing a warrant for wanton murder, which is under the same statute as murder in Kentucky. There is a subsection, which allows for reckless acts. The warrant will read ‘unlawfully operated a motor vehicle under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life and thereby caused the death of Albert J. Tomondi.’"

The wanton murder charge is a capital offense and could carry a sentence of life, or a minimum of 20 years, Mrs. Lambert said.

"I hate the thought of making someone an example, but, right now, at Christmas, I hope it will make someone else think," she said.

Ashland Police Department would not comment on whether or not alcohol was involved in the incident.

And a driving under the influence charge probably would not be levied against the suspect if alcohol was involved, Mrs. Michel said.

"Sometimes, in circumstances like this one, they may come back later," she said. "But sometimes they forego the lesser charge in favor of the greater charge, because a DUI would only be a misdemeanor charge."

Jerry Bryan, the suspect’s husband, was a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the accident. Bryan was taken to Cabell Huntington Hospital for injuries, as well, Stump said.

Mrs. Bryan reported no injuries, he added.