$1M bond for man accused of fatal hit-and-run

Posted at 12:04 PM, Jan 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-14 10:30:08-05

CINCINNATI -- Police have arrested a man charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, among other charges, in a crash that killed a runner in Mount Auburn in December.

Police said Thomas Cavez Stidhum, 24, fatally struck runner Cathy Chatfield, 57, with a vehicle on a sidewalk along Dorchester Avenue on Dec. 6. She was participating in the annual 13.2-mile Seven Hills Run/Walk, according to court documents.

Officials announced Wednesday that a grand jury had indicted Stidhum in the case and police were looking for him. He was arrested in Bond Hill at 10:40 a.m. Friday, according to Cincinnati police spokesperson Tiffaney Hardy. Stidhum resisted arrest and Cincinnati police officer used a Taser on him. He continued to resist and a Hamilton County deputy also used a Taser on Stidhum.

A judge set Stidhum's bond at $1 million.

Stidhum had several cuts to his face and head from his attempts to elude officers by exiting through a basement window, Hardy said. He was transported to University of Cincinnati Medical Center for treatment and then transported to the Hamilton County Justice Center afterward.

In court Saturday, Stidhum's lawyer said he denied the allegations and that "he was injured by the officers and they took him down unnecessarily."

Cathy Chatfield

Documents indicated Stidhum was driving with a suspended or revoked license when he hit Chatfield. He fled the scene, witnesses and police said.

"If Mr. Stidhum was impaired or was in possession of drugs, we don't know because we didn't have him in our custody at the time," Lt. Bruce Hoffbauer said.

Emergency crews took Chatfield to University of Cincinnati Medical Center where she was pronounced dead, authorities said.

In addition to aggravated vehicular homicide, Stidhum was charged with vehicular homicide, tampering with evidence and failure to stop after an accident. He will also be charged with resisting arrest, Hardy said.

Chatfield’s friends said she was doing what she loved: staying fit and active. She was a member of the House of Run N Tri running group and lived in Moscow, Ohio.

Her fellow runners have continued to remember Chatfield. They are selling T-shirts in her honor and donating the proceeds to her favorite charity, the Brown County Humane Society.

"Such an innocent person was killed. And they didn't care to stay and say I'm sorry," Ackerman said. "My understanding, from witnesses, was the (driver) took the license plate off the back of his car and took something out of the trunk of his car."

A female passenger of the car later returned to the scene and was questioned by police.

Last year, Stidhum was convicted of driving under OVI suspension, failure to comply with an officer and obstructing official business, among others. A month before the crash, Stidhum was charged with hitting another person, injuring them, and fleeing from the scene.