A southwest Ohio truck driver has been charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter in the death of a Kent man in a traffic crash on Interstate 76 in Summit County on Sept. 6.

Daniel C. Ballard, 48, of Cleves in Hamilton County, is charged with one count each of vehicular manslaughter, a second-degree misdemeanor, and failure to maintain assured clear distance ahead -- or following too closely -- which is a minor misdemeanor, according to Stow Municipal Court records.

Ballard recently pleaded not guilty to the charges and is free on bond pending a pretrial hearing in Judge Lisa Coates' courtroom on Nov. 5, according to court records.

Tallmadge police filed the charges after Ballard's semi-truck allegedly struck W. Roak Zeller's vehicle from behind in traffic while headed westbound on I-76 shortly before 8 a.m. Sept. 6. Zeller had slowed down in traffic caused by a different crash in the Akron area. Zeller's vehicle then struck a third vehicle.

Zeller, 42, of Kent, was ejected from his vehicle and died at the scene, according to Tallmadge police. Ballard was treated for minor injuries. The third driver was not injured.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1128 or dobrien@recordpub.com

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