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Rachel Schidecker changes plea in fatal crash case

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Rachel Rene Schidecker, 20, of Laura, Ohio appeared before Judge Michael Krumholz on May 20, 2014 and changed her not guilty plea to a plea of no contest on all counts listed in her indictment. Schidecker was scheduled to go to trial in June on multiple charges including Aggravated Vehicular Homicide, Aggravated Vehicular Assault and Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence. Schidecker, who was 18 at the time of the accident was drunk, when she drove her Ford Explorer north in the southbound lanes of Interstate 75 for four miles before causing a multi-vehicle crash that sent five people to the hospital, including Schidecker. One of the vehicles involved was driven by David Wilson of Kansas City. His vehicle was forced into the path of a tractor-trailer, which struck and pushed the vehicle several hundred feet before it burst in to flames. Wilson was partially ejected from the vehicle and rescued by a couple of good samaritans. Wilsons passenger, Chereece Rule, 39, who was also from Kansas City was trapped in the wreckage and the good samaritans were not able to rescue her. Witnesses reported that Rule was screaming for help before the fire completely engulfed the Chevy Blazer and she was pronounced dead at the scene. Just crash happened just north of downtown Dayton in Harrison Township.

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Schidecker's blood alcohol level was 0.236, which would be almost three times the legal limit for someone over the age of 21. Because Schidecker was only 18 at the time of the crash, the legal limit is only 0.02.

Judge Krumholtz spent several minutes explaining to Schidecker the consequences of changing her plea and the rights she would be forfeiting by doing so. She indicated she understood and signed the pleas which were entered into the record. Krumholtz told Schidecker that she was facing a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison on the most serious charge, Aggravated Vehicular Homicide, but could face a maximum sentence of 8 years. Krumholtz warned Schidecker that any prison sentence she receives are mandatory sentences and cannot be reduced based on any factors, such as early judicial release. She must serve the entire term. She faces a possibiity of 23 years in prison if she is sentenced to the maximum term on each count and the prisons terms are ordered to be served consecutively, instead of concurrently. It is common for prison sentences in cases such as this to be ordered served concurrently, meaning the maximum she will face is 8 years. She also faces a mandatory lifetime suspension of her drivers license.

Krumholtz ordered a pre-sentence investigation be conducted prior to her sentencing on June 23, 2014 at 2:00 pm. Krumholtz promised to take into consideration any information from either side that would help him decide on a proper sentence. Schidecker has no prior record, and appears to be taking responsibility for her actions. Her attorney, Dennis Lieberman said Schidecker is ill and very remorseful. According to court records, she has regularly attended church services and a 12-step program since the crash. Schidecker ran track at Milton-Union High School and had completed more than a year at the Columbus Collee of Arts & Design, majoring in Fashion Design prior to her arrest.

A plea of no contest means that she did not admit guilt, but acknowledges that there is enough evidence to support a conviction. Her plea cannot be used against her in any other proceedings, including a wrongful death lawsuit filed against her and her mother, Jenny Schidecker. Schidecker was escorted to court by several family members and supporters.

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