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SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (AP) — An SUV driver accused of striking and killing a 12-year-old girl while fleeing police was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide in western Ohio, a police chief said Monday.
Joseph L. Thomson, 30, of Springfield, also was arraigned in Clark County Municipal Court on a felony count of failure to comply with the order of a police officer, Springfield police Chief Steve Moody said.
Thomson pleaded not guilty to the charges Monday, and bail was set at $100,000, court officials said.
Court records did not list an attorney for the Springfield man.
A police officer clocked Thomson going 62 mph in a 35 mph zone on Sunday evening and had turned the cruiser’s overhead lights on to stop the SUV when Thomson sped off, Moody said.
The officer followed for a short distance before telling communications he was “curtailing the pursuit,” but he continued along the path the SUV appeared to have taken, Moody said.
That’s when the officer came upon the crashed SUV, a few blocks away, Moody said.
Moody says the SUV had jumped a curb and hit a pole and a tree, striking Kayla Lynn Mongold along the way. Mongold died at the scene, the chief said.
Brianna Frantz, 13, was walking with the victim, but managed to jump out of the vehicle’s path and avoid injury, the Springfield News-Sun reported.
“I ran into the weeds and when I looked back, my friend was gone and that’s all,” Frantz told the newspaper.
There was no sidewalk in the area where the girl was struck, and people regularly walk on a grassy area beside the road, Moody said. He said the girls apparently were on the grass when Mongold was struck.
Springfield is about 40 miles west of Columbus.