Wednesday, April 25, 2001

Guard convicted in prison van crash

The Associated Press

        LONDON, Ohio — A state corrections officer who was driving a prison van that crashed in a snow squall in February, killing a co-worker, has been convicted of vehicular manslaughter.

        Richard Lake, 40, of Lebanon was found guilty of the reduced charge Monday after entering a no-contest plea. He faces up to 90 days in prison when sentenced June 26.

        Mr. Lake originally was charged with vehicular homicide in the death of Wayne Mitchell, 54. Prosecutors said the vehicular-homicide charge was too hard to prove.

        Mr. Lake and Mr. Mitchell were transporting two prisoners from the Warren Correctional Institution in Lebanon to the Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus. The van went out of control on a snow-covered Interstate 71 and crashed into a bridge pillar near Mount Sterling.

        State troopers said witnesses estimated the van was traveling 80 mph when Mr. Lake lost control of it.


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