Woman convicted of vehicular homicide gets 5 years

By Dean Wright - deanwright@civitasmedia.com

GALLIPOLIS — In the Gallia Court of Common Pleas Thursday, a Crown City woman was sentenced to five years in prison for the vehicular homicide of a passenger in her vehicle from a car crash in November 2015.

McGuire’s original charge was considered a second-degree felony.

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.

Troopers originally reported 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 a seat belt. Troopers said they believed the vehicle then rolled on top of him.

According to Gallia Assistant Prosecutor Jeremy Fisher, evidence of Butalbital, marijuana metabolite and Diazepam were discovered in McGuire’s system. Each drug alone, he said, could hamper an individual’s ability to drive, but the fact a mixture existed in McGuire’s system should be noted.

Fisher recommended to visiting Judge Leonard Holzapfel to give McGuire the maximum sentence of five years along with a lifetime license suspension. McGuire’s defense counsel Thomas Saunders would ask for two years.

Holzapfel would go along with the prosecution’s suggestion and also ordered McGuire to pay roughly $6,000 in reparation for the deceased’s funeral costs.

Niece of the deceased, Holly Gillenwater, would present a written victim statement by Donald Gillenwater, the victim’s father. Larry’s sister, Rita Craig would also express her thoughts to the court. All mourned the loss of their loved one with Craig stating she felt sorry for McGuire and hoped she would learn from her time in prison.

The defense would go on to say that Larry had been a friend of McGuire’s. McGuire also addressed the court, apologizing for the loss of Larry.

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

By Dean Wright