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Judge rejects lower bond in fatal hit-skip

LISBON — A Salineville man accused in the traffic death of a Columbiana eighth grader in October appeared in Common Pleas Court on Friday afternoon.

Donald E. White, 64, state Route 164, Salineville, is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, a third-degree felony; and two charges of failure to stop after an accident, one a second-degree felony and the other a third-degree felony.

White signed a waiver of time during the pretrial hearing before Judge Megan Bickerton, giving his defense attorney James Wise more time to prepare the case. A status conference was set for March 14 with a jury trial scheduled for April 5.

Wise asked Bickerton to consider reducing White’s bond, which he continues to be held on in the county jail. Currently at $500,000 cash or surety, Wise indicated White is unable to post it and the purpose of bond is to ensure White appears. According to Wise, White has only one lower level felony in his past and some misdemeanors and he believes White will appear if released on a lower bond.

However, Chief Assistant County Prosecutor Ryan Weikart said due to the nature of the offenses and the fact that White appeared to have made an effort that night to flee, even pulling some of his family members into his efforts, the prosecutors had concerns he was a flight risk.

Bickerton left White’s bond as it was set.

Attending the hearing on Friday were two family members of Aiden Wollman, the 13-year-old boy who was struck by a vehicle on Oct. 23 while riding his bicycle with another boy along the edge of state Route 164. Wollman was ejected from his bicycle and the pickup truck, allegedly driven by White, left the scene of the crash.

White’s 1987 Chevrolet pickup truck was later found abandoned with damage as troopers from the Ohio State Highway Patrol were investigating and piecing together what happened. White was found at his home and charged after he reportedly admitted to driving the pickup and claimed to have struck a mailbox.

Family members held framed photos of the boy in the back of the courtroom during the hearing.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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