Man found guilty of vehicular manslaughter

MIAMI COUNTY —The man behind the wheel of a commercial dump truck that collided with an SUV, killing an 11-year-old Troy boy in August 2020, was found guilty on Monday of a single count of second-degree misdemeanor vehicular homicide in Miami County Municipal Court.

Christopher Young, 20, of New Carlisle, entered a no-contest plea to the charge and was found guilty by Judge Sam Huffman.

Young was indicted by a Miami County grand jury in the incident that claimed the life of 11-year-old Grant Gillespie of Troy on Aug. 3, 2020, at the intersection of Troy-Sidney Road and East Peterson Road in Staunton Township. If convicted, the vehicular manslaughter sentence could include up to 90 days in jail and a mandatory license suspension of six months to three years.

Judge Huffman ordered Young to participate in a pre-sentence investigation (PSI) before sentencing. A sentencing date has not been set at this time. Huffman said the court received multiple letters from the community from the families as well as on Young’s behalf.

Huffman said the pre-sentence investigation would help the court with a more thorough report of Young and his conduct.

Young was the driver of the commercial dump truck that struck the passenger vehicle after running the stop sign traveling westbound on Troy-Sidney Road. An investigation by the Miami County Sheriff’s Office found there was no evidence of any mechanical defects in the dump truck and it was in good working order. The investigation was unable to determine the rate of speed Young was traveling at the time of the accident. An autopsy of Grant Gillespie determined he was killed by blunt force trauma from the impact. He was a passenger on the driver’s side of the Chevrolet Suburban.

Other occupants of the SUV, the driver, Jennifer D. Hughes, 41, and her son, Memphis Hughes, 12, both of Troy, went to the hospital with serious injuries and were transported by CareFlight from the scene. They were later released.

That accident would be the first of three serious accidents at the same intersection in two months. The intersection of Troy-Sidney and Peterson roads was the location of an accident on Aug. 19, 2020, where six people were injured, including two victims who were transported from the scene by CareFlight. Another crash was later recorded on Sept. 22 where two people were transported with injuries when a truck and a semi-truck collided in the same intersection. There have been two more property damage accidents at the intersection on Feb. 22 and Feb. 26 this year.

The Miami County Engineer’s Office made several safety improvements to the intersection, including moving the stop sign closer to the road, increasing the size of the stop signs from 30-inches to 36-inches, and painting stop bars on the roadway. Recent improvements include the addition of “Cross Traffic Does Not Stop” signs on Feb. 23 and Dual “Stop Ahead” signs on March 9. The Miami Valley Today will have more details regarding those improvements with a follow-up story.