LOGAN – After a Newark man who’s facing charges for rolling his pickup truck with child passengers inside failed to appear for a pre-trial hearing, a judge has issued a bench warrant for his arrest.
As previously reported in The Logan Daily News, on Dec. 7, 2020 Bernard Howell, Jr., 57, was involved in an accident on state Route 93 that resulted in injuries both to himself and to an 18-year-old female passenger from Mount Perry. Four other people were also in the vehicle, all Somerset residents: an 18-year-old man, a 19-year-old woman, a 10-year-old girl and a 5-year-old girl. They were apparently not injured, according to a crash report from the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Howell was indicted in Hocking County Common Pleas Court on charges of aggravated vehicular assault, vehicular assault, endangering children (two counts), operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs, alcohol or both, and aggravated possession of drugs.
According to the Patrol 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 crossed the center line, then went off the left side of the roadway and hit a ditch, post and embankment before overturning onto its right side.
Howell was originally charged with operating a vehicle without being in reasonable control of it, a minor misdemeanor. However, according to the crash report, officers suspected he was under the influence of alcohol, marijuana and other drugs, but was allegedly found to be in possession of methamphetamine. is believed to have been distracted in his driving by some sort of “activity with an electronic device.”
The child endangerment charges relate to the two young girls, 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.
Howell was scheduled to appear for a pre-trial hearing in Hocking County Common Pleas Court on Thursday, Sept. 9, but according to online court records did not show up. The same day Judge John T. Wallace issued a warrant for his arrest.