POMEROY — A Pomeroy man remains jailed on a $250,000 bond after pleading innocent to charges stemming from the Aug. 4 crash deaths of two people.
Austin R. Halfhill, 23, of Pomeroy, appeared in Meigs County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday morning to be arraigned on the nine count indictment filed against him on Tuesday.
Halfhill is charged with two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, felonies of the first degree; two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, felonies of the second degree; two counts of vehicular manslaughter, misdemeanors of the first degree; and three counts of operating a vehicle while under the influence, misdemeanors of the first degree.
Halfhill is alleged to have been the driver of a vehicle which went left of center and struck a motorcycle driven by John McElfresh, 62, of Glouster on Aug. 4 on State Route 7 near Chester. McElfresh was killed in the crash, as was passenger Brenda Suttle, 59, of Crooksville, who’s body was found the day after the crash.
According to a statement from Meigs County Prosecutor James K. Stanley following the indictment on Tuesday, “Halfhill is alleged to have presented with indicia of being under the influence of a control substance after the crash and is alleged to have admitted using methamphetamine and buprenorphine before the crash. A subsequent urine analysis allegedly indicated the presence of methamphetamine, amphetamine, and buprenorphine in Halfhill’s system at the time of the crash. Halfhill is also alleged to have been operating his motor vehicle with a suspended license.”
Judge Linda Warner set Halfhill’s bond at $250,000 at the request of Meigs County Prosecutor James K. Stanley.
Attorney Michael Huff, who was appointed to represent Halfhill, requested that bond be set at a lower amount, while also requiring GPS monitoring and possible treatment through Health Recovery Services.
Judge Warner encouraged Halfhill to take advantage of any treatment and counseling programs available in the jail should he remain incarcerated.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol investigated this matter, and the Chester Volunteer Fire Department, Meigs EMS, and the Meigs County Coroner’s Office assisted at the scene of the crash.
Pretrial hearings for Halfhill are scheduled for Sept. 24, Oct. 7 and Oct. 15, with a jury trial currently scheduled for Oct. 22.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.