A Hillsboro man was sentenced for vehicular homicide in Clinton County on Tuesday and received a suspended 180-day jail sentence for the death of a 22-year-old woman in a three-vehicle crash in late 2017.
Ethan Adkins, 20, of Hillsboro, pled no contest and was found guilty of vehicular homicide, a first-degree misdemeanor, on Jan. 11 in Clinton County Municipal Court before Judge Mike Daugherty.
Adkins’ driver’s license will be suspended for five years and he must pay a $1,000 fine, along with court costs. He will also have to take part in mandatory supervised probation for an indefinite period, and have electric monitoring with a GPS electronic monitoring device.
“In determining the sentencing for a misdemeanor, the court shall consider the nature and circumstances of the offense,” said Daughtery. “The court has been advised this was not something planned. This was, at least, irresponsible driving while exhausted. At worst, reckless.”
The judge added, “I can’t find that this is the worst form of conduct. It is certainly the worst thing that could happen when somebody operates a car. I can’t imagine anything worse that could ever happen, than for another wonderful, loving person, a person so deeply loved by her family, to die.”
The case stems from a Nov. 3, 2017 crash that resulted in the death of Hailee Heflin, 22, Hillsboro, on SR 73 at Antioch Road in Union Township. Five others were injured.
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s investigation, Adkins, 19 at the time, was driving southeast on SR 73 when his vehicle rear-ended Heflin’s vehicle as she slowed to make a left turn on Antioch Road. That collision forced Heflin’s vehicle into the oncoming lane, where she was struck head-on by a third vehicle. Heflin was pronounced dead at the scene.
Heflin’s passenger, her now 3-year-old son, was transported to Greene County Memorial Hospital in critical condition. The four occupants of the third vehicle were transported to Clinton Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Adkins had no reported injuries.
Before sentencing, statements from Heflin’s family members were read saying they “don’t forgive” Adkins, and that he caused a lot of damage and pain through Heflin’s death and the brain damage her son has now. One statement indicated the family didn’t want Adkins to just get “a slap on the wrist” in punishment.
Two family friends of Adkins said he feels grief every day for what happened, and they spoke highly of his character, saying they felt he should not be punished.
Adkins himself addressed the court, saying he was sorry for what happened. Daughtery asked him if he wished to address Heflin’s family. Adkins turned and apologized, saying if he could take it back, he would.
One Heflin family member said, “I’m sure you would.”