Man charged in fatal West Chester wreck, isssued $15K bond

Police: 'This was a very high-speed crash'

WEST CHESTER, Ohio -- A West Chester man could spend several years in prison after police say he caused a fatal crash after leaving the scene of a wreck he caused five minutes earlier.

A judge set 32-year-old Terrence Strader's bond at $15,000 Friday morning. He is accused of causing the May 29 accident on State Route 747 that killed 62-year-old Troy Stapleton.

Strader -- a graduate of Hughes High School and MIT, and an employee of Procter & Gamble -- is charged with one count of vehicular homicide.

The charge is a third-degree felony that carries a possible one to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Strader also faces various other misdemeanor charges from the two May 29 crashes. Each carries additional prison time and fines.

“Because of the complexities and seriousness of the case the time was taken to complete a thorough investigation and consideration of the charges to be filed,” said Acting West Chester Police Chief David Kelly. “The case will now be turned over to the county prosecutor.”

Investigators say Strader was driving along SR 747, between Mackenzie Court and Union Centre Boulevard, at about 8:30 a.m. when he crashed his Chevrolet Avalanche into the back of a blue Honda Civic.

After hitting the Civic, Strader continued going southbound on SR 747 for about five minutes until he ran a red light and hit a silver Toyota Prius driven by Stapleton, West Chester police said.

"The impact was so loud but then after the impact there was this screeching," said witness Jay Krodel. "It was like he hit the brakes after he hit the car and he shoved that little Prius at least 200 feet up the road."

One of the vehicles in that crash then sideswiped a Ford Focus in the left turn lane of northbound SR 747, police said.

"I was afraid there was no hope for that guy because it was such a small car such and such a big truck to hit him," Krodel said.

Stapleton, a Fairfield resident, was killed in the wreck.

“This was a very high-speed collision,” Lt. Barry Walker told the Journal-News. “This is not typical of the crashes we’re seeing.”

Carl Lewis, Strader's attorney, called his client a "success story."

"He's active in his church, active in his fraternity, involved in community outreach with youth," Lewis said. "So this is somewhere he never in a million years imagined he would be."

Strader -- who received treatment at West Chester Hospital for unspecified injuries after the crash -- has a recent history of driving-related offenses, including a 2012 incident for which he's currently being sued.

During that incident, he reportedly lost control of his vehicle at the off-ramp from northbound I-71 to Fields Ertel Road. The vehicle went off the left side of the ramp, where it struck a highway sign, a tree and a light post before coming to a full stop.

He was trapped in his 2007 Chevrolet for about 30 minutes before Loveland-Symmes Fire Department crewa mechanically removed him out of the car.

The lawsuit alleges Strader failed to maintain an assured clear distance, causing a severe rear-end collision with Patrick Kehoe of Cincinnati, according to Hamilton County court records.

Kehoe filed the suit for compensation for personal injuries and property damage, according to the Journal-News.

In his defense to the civil lawsuit, Strader cited “sudden emergency.”

Strader, who was also cited with an assured clear distance violations in July 2010 and 2011, turned himself in to police earlier Thursday morning.

His next court date is scheduled for June 10.

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