Man accused in fatal hit-and-run was in another crash 15 days earlier, prosecutors say

Posted at 5:15 PM, Apr 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-28 18:33:46-04

CINCINNATI -- Prosecutors plan to argue that the man accused of killing a runner in a hit-and-run crash displayed a pattern of reckless behavior.

Thomas Stidhum, 25, is on trial in Cathy Chatfield's death after police said he drove the speeding car that jumped a curb and hit Chatfield, who was running in the December 2015 Seven Hills Run/Walk.

At the end of Friday's hearing, the judge granted the prosecution its motion to argue a pattern of reckless behavior by Stidhum.

Prosecutors said Stidhum was in another crash 15 days before Chatfield was killed. He was driving more than 90 mph when he lost control and hit a pickup truck. In both cases, Stidhum ran from the scene, prosecutors said.

The defense plans to argue that both crashes were accidental.

Jurors also learned more Friday about the crash that killed Chatfield.

Chatfield was hit with "a tremendous amount of force," according to the Hamilton County Coroner's office. She died as the result of a skull fracture and a dislocated neck.

Greg Toyeas of the Cincinnati Police Department Traffic Unit testified about the interviews he conducted with witnesses after the crash, but the recordings of the nine witness statements made at the scene have since been lost.

Investigators took DNA samples from a Sunkist bottle and a bloody piece of paper, which led them to Stidhum as a suspect.

But the defense has argued there is still a bit of doubt when it comes to the witness statements.

Stidhum is facing charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular homicide, failure to stop after an accident and tampering with evidence.