LOGAN — A Newark man who was involved in a Dec. 7, 2020 auto accident on state Route 93 that injured a Mount Perry woman has been indicted in Hocking County Common Pleas Court on charges of aggravated vehicular assault, vehicular assault, two counts of endangering children, operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs, alcohol or both, and aggravated possession of drugs.
The first charge is a third-degree felony; the second is a fourth-degree felony; the next three are all first-degree misdemeanors; and the last is a fifth-degree felony.
According to a crash report from the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Bernard Howell, Jr., 57, was involved in an accident that resulted in suspected serious injuries both to himself and to an 18-year-old female passenger. Four other people were also in the vehicle, all Somerset residents: an 18-year-old male, a 19-year-old female, a 10-year-old female and a 5-year-old female. They were apparently not injured, according to the crash report.
Howell was driving a 2006 Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck north on state Route 93 in Washington Township around 2:30 a.m. when his vehicle allegedly crossed the center line, drove off the left side of the roadway and hit a ditch, post and embankment, then overturned onto its right side. Both he and the injured woman were transported by Hocking County EMS for medical treatment.
According to the crash report, he was originally charged with operating a vehicle without being in reasonable control of it, a minor misdemeanor. The report indicates that he was suspected to be under the influence of alcohol, marijuana and other drugs, though he does not appear from the report to have been tested for intoxicants at the time of the crash. The report also indicates that Howell is believed to have been distracted in his driving by some sort of “activity with an electronic device.”
At the time of the accident Howell was driving on a straight, level, dry roadway and the weather was clear, though it was dark and the road was not lighted. Howell also appears to have been traveling under the 55 mph speed limit.
The indictment against Howell, filed March 12, alleges that he caused “serious physical harm” to the 18-year-old woman. The child endangerment charges relate to the two minor children, of whom he is alleged to have had custody, control, or to have been in loco parentis (acting in the place of a parent) at the time of the accident.
The aggravated drug possession charge alleges that Howell was in possession of methamphetamine.