AKRON — A Tallmadge man was sentenced to three years in prison Aug. 11 in connection with a March 2016 traffic accident that killed a 17-year-old Akron girl.
According to the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office, Summit County Common Pleas Judge Joy Malek-Oldfield also fined 64-year-old Woods Drive resident Charles R. Queer $15,000 and ordered that his driver’s license be suspended for life.
On June 6, Malek-Oldfield found Queer guilty of second-degree felony aggravated vehicular homicide, third-degree felony vehicular homicide and first-degree misdemeanor operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol after Queer pleaded no contest to the charges.
“This was a horrible tragedy. Patricia was a bright light for her family and our community and she was taken away because of a selfish act,” said Chief Assistant Prosecutor Margaret Scott. “Mr. Queer was drunk when he got behind the wheel and stole memories of Patricia’s future from her friends and family. My hope is that this will make others think twice about driving while impaired.”
Queer’s attorney, Michael T. Callahan told Record Publishing on June 7 that, “It’s a no-win situation for anybody. It’s a terrible tragedy. Two families have been affected terribly by this.”
Akron police said Patricia “Tricia” N. Powell had been doing some Easter shopping on March 27, 2016, when her car overheated while she was eastbound on Interstate 76 and she pulled over onto the shoulder at about 2:15 a.m. She was inside the car with the hazard lights on waiting for a friend she called to come pick her up when Queer drove his car into the back of hers.
Police said Queer had a blood alcohol content level of 0.204 percent, more than twice the 0.08 percent legal limit.
Powell was taken to Summa Akron City Hospital, where she died of blunt force trauma to the head and neck. Queer was hospitalized for non-life threatening injuries.
In June 2016, Powell’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Summit County Court of Common Pleas against Queer, KC’s Nashville Nights, the Akron bar where Queer had been drinking, and several of the bar’s employees.
A trial is scheduled for April 23, 2018.
Editor’s Note: Reporter Ellin Walsh contributed to this story.