Deters: Crash that killed cyclist 'senseless'

Posted at 3:59 PM, Feb 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-09 15:59:47-05

CINCINNATI — A grand jury has indicted the woman accused of fatally striking a cyclist with her vehicle along U.S. 52 in Anderson Township.

According to Triffon Callos, chief of staff for Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, 34-year-old Melinda Woodall faces two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, one count of failure to stop, three counts of possession of drugs, and one count of possessing drug abuse instruments.

If convicted, Woodall could face more than 15 years in prison.

In a news release Tuesday, Deters called the crash “absolutely senseless.”

Michael Prater (Provided)

“Mr. Prater was out for what should have been an enjoyable Sunday afternoon bicycle ride. Our community is grieving the loss of a husband, father and friend simply because of someone under the influence of drugs.”

According to police, Woodall was driving along U.S. 52 on Sunday, Jan. 31, when she veered onto the shoulder and struck 43-year-old Michael Prater on his bicycle. Upon impact, Prater struck Woodall’s windshield and was propelled approximately 50 feet, Callos said.

Prater succumbed to his injuries the next day.

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Woodall told a judge that she was distracted by the passengers in the rear seat of her vehicle when she hit Prater, but police said she appeared to be under the influence of prescription narcotics. She was found to be in possession of three bottles containing schedule 3 narcotics and four drugs, Alprazolam, Clonazepam and Buprenophine, as well as five syringes with residue, a metal spoon and a tourniquet in her purse that she admitted using for heroin, according to police.

In the days following his death, the cycling community rallied in support of Prater’s family. More than 600 area cyclists participated in a “Ghost Ride” on Feb. 6, in his memory.

Woodall is scheduled to appear in court again on Feb. 10.