Charges Still Being Considered In Fatal Crash

By
Susan Tebben - Athens Messenger staff reporter

Dateline
Updated Thu, Jun 26, 2014 4:19 pm

The driver of a one-vehicle crash that left two Athens County women dead could face vehicular homicide charges, officials said Thursday.

Aaron Mans, 44, of Columbus, is listed in good condition at Cabell Huntington Hospital after being transported from a crash that occurred Monday on Route 356 in Vinton County.

Jazmin Sloter, 26, of Nelsonville, and Cheri Gifford, 44, of New Marshfield, were both passengers in the 2008 BMW that was traveling southbound on the road. The vehicle went off the road and struck a tree, according to a report by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Both women were pronounced dead at the scene by the Vinton County coroner, according to previous reporting by The Messenger. Mans was transported to the hospital with "incapacitating" injuries, but the extent of his injuries was not specified by officials.

Charges have not been filed, but investigators are planning to subpoena the medical records for Mans to determine whether he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash. West Virginia does not honor search warrants issued out of another state, Highway Patrol Trooper Quinn Dunn said.

"There is a possibility drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash," Dunn said.

Mans refused to give a statement to investigators regarding the crash but commented that he may have been going too fast around a curve in the road, Dunn said. But reconstructionists have not determined that speed was part of the cause of the crash.

"It's not looking like speed is going to be a factor in the crash," Dunn said.

The investigation into the crash is still ongoing, and Dunn said it would take "better than a week" to complete.

"With something this serious, we're looking at every angle and making sure the report is done correctly," he said.

Once the report is done, all the information gathered by the state patrol will be sent to Vinton County Prosecuting Attorney Trecia Kimes-Brown, who will then decide if charges are warranted in the case and what those charges might be.

Dunn said the highway patrol is leaving the charges up to the prosecuting attorney to avoid possibly preemptively charging Mans with a lesser charge than is necessary.

"If we file any charges at this stage, such as failure to control, then (Mans) would go to (municipal) court and that would be the end of it," Dunn said. "But in this type of crash, we want to be sure we get all the information so (the prosecuting attorney) can make the decision."

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