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Vehicular homicide trial for Salineville man delayed

LISBON — The trial date for a Salineville man charged with aggravated vehicular homicide has been pushed to Oct. 4 due to the unavailability of multiple witnesses for the prosecution.

Donald E. White, 65, state Route 164, appeared in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court Monday with his defense attorney James Wise for a status conference and arraignment on a superseding indictment.

White pleaded not guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide, a third-degree felony, two charges of failure to stop after an accident, one a second-degree felony and the other a third-degree felony, and an additional charge added through the superseding indictment for possession of cocaine, a fifth-degree felony. He was again found indigent, with Wise appointed as his counsel.

During the hearing, county Assistant Prosecutor Steve Yacovone requested a continuance from the July 12 jury trial date, explaining to Judge Megan Bickerton that multiple witnesses were unavailable for the date, including the first trooper on the scene of the accident last October, who’s currently on military leave, but is expected back by fall.

Another investigator is out of the area until July 12, the day the trial was supposed to begin and another trooper is out for a conference.

Yacovone said the sole eyewitness of the fatal accident between a bicycle and a truck, the juvenile who was with the 13-year-old victim at the time, wasn’t going to be available due to a surgery.

For those reasons, Yacovone requested a new court date and also indicated he planned to enlist the help of an expert related to toxicology, noting the delay would not be unreasonable.

Bickerton recently denied a defense request to prohibit the introduction of blood alcohol test result evidence in the case.

Wise commented that the trial date was set and asked if the date can’t go forward, that his client be released on a recognizance bond.

Bickerton noted that the trial date was reset to July after the defense had filed the motion regarding the evidence. She noted the necessity of the witnesses and the fact that the military leave was out of the state’s control.

She granted the continuance and set the new jury trial date of Oct. 4, with a status conference set for Sept. 26. She also set a deadline for non-oral motions of July 27.

Based on the nature of the offense, she denied the defense request to reduce the bond and said it’s staying the same. White remains jailed at the county jail.

Family members of the victim sat quietly in the courtroom, holding up photographs of the teen during the proceedings.

mgreier@salemnews.net

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