Grand jury indicts woman in crash that killed a local attorney Seymour facing three counts of aggravated vehicular homicide in July 4 incident

Oct. 11, 2013
Written by Jona Ison
Gazette Staff Writer

CHILLICOTHE — A Bainbridge woman has been indicted on felony charges relating to a July 4 crash that killed a local attorney.

Shira B. Seymour, 36, was secretly indicted Friday by a Ross County grand jury on three counts of aggravated vehicular homicide. Each charge contains different elements and, if convicted, Seymour only would be sentenced on one of the counts. She was arrested Friday night at her home, Ross County Prosecutor Matt Schmidt said.

The charges allege Seymour was driving drunk when she crashed her SUV head-on into another SUV driven by 36-year-old Annie Rooney, who was returning home from Bainbridge where she had borrowed a bicycle from a friend.

The indictment was delayed because of Seymour’s continued recovery from injuries she sustained in the crash. She had been receiving in-patient rehabilitation since her release from the hospital and recently was released.

Although seriously injured herself that night, Seymour was conscious at the scene and allegedly told an Ohio Highway Patrol trooper that she had “plenty” to drink. A patrol report released in August revealed lab analysis alleges Seymour’s blood alcohol content was roughly twice the legal limit.

The bar where Seymour was alleged to have been drinking that night — Jerry’s West — also is facing an administrative violation for allegedly selling alcohol to an intoxicated person.

Walt Rooney, Annie Rooney’s brother, said the family feels relieved that charges had been filed. Since the crash, the family has been seeking a pathway to get stricter legislation in Ohio relating to drunken driving, especially after learning of Seymour’s prior record.

Online court records show Seymour does not have a felony record, but she has had at least three misdemeanor charges of operating a vehicle impaired filed against her that were reduced in Chillicothe Municipal Court.

In 2008, Seymour pleaded guilty to physical control, a reduction from an operating a vehicle impaired, and she had two OVI cases — one involving marijuana metabolites — that were dismissed in 2012 after she pleaded guilty to failure to control. She also had a 2011 hit-skip charge that was dismissed after she pleaded guilty to failure to yield.

Seymour’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles driving history shows she had an OVI conviction out of Athens Municipal Court in 1997. The report also indicates she’s had her license suspended three times — from Jan. 4, 1997, to Jan. 24, 1997, which was modified to March 27, 1997, and March 12, 2008, to March 12, 2009, both of which were considered an administrative license suspension.

The most recent suspension was an overlapping noncompliance and financial responsibility suspension from July 18, 2008, to July 18, 2011.

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