Commercial driver indicted in double fatal crash near Lake Milton

Local

About two weeks after the fatal crash, Barnhart was implicated in another crash in which troopers suspected drug use

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – A commercial driver will go on trial, accused of causing a crash that killed two people near Lake Milton last month.

Lesley Mounts, who lost her father in the crash, said she got a phone call Friday morning from the prosecutor’s office, telling her a grand jury had indicted 33-year-old Gregory Barnhart.

It means the Bristolville man will go on trial for aggravated vehicular homicide and operating a vehicle while under the influence.

Investigators say Barnhart was driving a truck when he crossed the center line on State Route 534 and hit a cargo van, killing 68-year-old Howard Mounts and 34-year-old Bradley Ronci.

“Our families are relieved,” Lesley said. “We know it will be a long process, but it’s definitely a relief to see some justice.”

Tammi Petrosky, Ronci’s mother, released the following statement:

“I want to thank the State Highway Patrol, and the grand jury and everyone else for doing their job.”

The indictment is a formal charge. It still has to be proven in court.

But Lesley believes the evidence will be overwhelming.

“With his criminal record — and they did receive his bloodwork that was expedited by the prosecutor,” she said. “So that really made the case strong for them to indict him, so I just believe the evidence proves itself.”

Barnhart had a commercial driver’s license. On Monday, he was served with a federal order, calling him an imminent hazard to public safety. It ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle.

The Department of Transportation said Barnhart did not submit to a post-accident substance test. His employer fired him as a result.

Two weeks later, Barnhart was implicated in another crash in which police say he lost control on Interstate 76 in Milton Township and hit a tree. Troopers suspect drugs were a factor in that crash.

He was not driving a commercial vehicle at that time.

The Mounts and Ronci families wondered how he could have still been behind the wheel at that time. Now, they’re glad he’s going to go on trial.

“We’re ready to get justice for Bill and Bradley,” Lesley said. “We will never skip a beat, no matter how many months that it takes.”

The next step is an arraignment for Barnhart, in which he will hear the charges against him and a judge will determine if he stays in jail until his trial.

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