Man arraigned on drunk driving charge

Published 9:34 am Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Indicted only for OVI after fatal crash

A man involved in a fatal traffic accident this past spring on Porter Gap Road was arraigned Monday afternoon on a charge of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Charles Allen, 32, 1894 County Road 103, Ironton, was arraigned on one misdemeanor count of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol before Ironton Municipal Court Judge O Clark Collins. Bond was set at $5,000. Allen retained J.T. Holt as his attorney.

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Collins ordered Allen to return to court Dec. 8 for a pretrial conference.

The April accident claimed the life of Richard Schwab, 44, of Ironton and permanently injured Schwab’s daughter, who was riding in her father’s vehicle at the time of the crash.

Ohio State Highway troopers determined that the two vehicles were traveling in opposite directions and had struck in the middle of the roadway. Schwab was driving southbound. Allen drove the northbound vehicle.

Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Brigham Anderson said he had twice presented the case to the Lawrence County Grand Jury and twice the grand jury has chosen not to indict Allen on more serious charges in the case than the misdemeanor drunk driving charge.

“Unless I obtain new information about the case I don’t anticipate taking it before the grand jury again,” Anderson said.

Holt, who represents Allen, said his client is deeply sorry and wishes to express his condolences to the Schwab family for their loss and for the injuries the daughter sustained in the crash. But he said, “Mr. Allen is in no way, shape or form responsible for the death of Mr. Schwab or the injury to family members. This was presented to the grand jury twice and twice the grand jury said there was no reason to hold him accountable in regards to the death or injuries.”

Holt added that the Ohio State Highway Patrol report at the time of the accident stated there had been no evasive tire marks on the pavement, no evidence of breaking and no excessive speed and that neither driver was at fault.