Crown City woman pleads guilty to vehicular homicide

By Dean Wright -

GALLIPOLIS — After an Ohio State Highway Patrol investigation of a car crash in November 2015 that killed the passenger in a single-vehicle collision where the driver survived, the driver pleaded guilty to a charge of third-degree felony aggravated vehicular homicide, this week in the Gallia County Court of Common Pleas.

Around 10:19 p.m. November 20, 2015, Sheila McGuire, 51, of Crown City, was reportedly driving a 1986 Buick Skyhawk with passenger Larry Gillenwater, 58 at the time, also of Crown City, inside. The pair were traveling along Swan Creek Road, otherwise known as County Road 152. The crash occurred 1.4 miles south of the road’s intersection with Township Road 862.

According to troopers in a previous Tribune story, the car drove off the right side of the road. The driver then reportedly overcompensated and traveled left of the center line before hitting an embankment and flipping. Gillenwater was partially ejected from the vehicle as he was not wearing his seat belt. Troopers say they believe the vehicle then rolled on top of him.

According to reports, Gillenwater suffered severe cranial trauma and was pronounced dead at the scene. McGuire suffered minor injuries and was taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center in Huntington, W.Va. She was taken to the hospital as a “precautionary measure.” The driver allegedly was complaining of neck pain.

According to the Gallia Prosecutor’s Office, Diazepam, Butalbital as well as marijuana metabolite was discovered in McGuire’s system. Butalbital is considered a barbituate and Diazepam is used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms and seizures. Both are considered controlled substances.

The possible penalties that McGuire is facing are a range of one to five years in prison, a $10,000 fine, and up to a lifetime driver’s license suspension. Sentencing will be on April 10 at 9 a.m. At sentencing, the prosecutor’s office will be asking for the maximum of five years in prison and a lifetime license suspension, according to Prosecutor Jason Holdren.

Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.

By Dean Wright