MIAMI COUNTY — A Piqua woman was sentenced to serve 18 months in prison for purposely driving her car into a separate car that her ex-husband was driving. Their five children, one as young as 3 years old, were also riding in the car that was struck.
Brenda Smith, 34, was sentenced for second-degree felonious assault in Miami County Common Pleas Court on Monday.
The accident occurred at the intersection of Estates Drive and County Road 25-A outside of Tipp City. According to court records, the victim pulled up at the same time to the right of Smith’s vehicle to turn right and head southbound. Smith was on the left side with her left turn signal on to head northbound on County Road 25-A to go toward Piqua.
The victim stated that when he began to drive onto County Road 25-A, Smith “pulled out quickly and turned her vehicle in his direction and rammed her vehicle into his,” according to court records. “This action caused her vehicle to cross the center line of traffic and end up in a front yard down the road.”
According court records, Smith also removed her 3-year-old from the car that she struck and slammed the child on the ground.
The incident also took place approximately one month after Smith had been placed on probation in Miami County Municipal Court for a previous child endangering charge.
Smith’s public defender Steve Layman said that Smith has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder for quite some time and was not on her medication at the time of the incident.
“She can’t take back what occurred. Fortunately, no one was hurt very severely,” Layman said. “Obviously, she’s been working hard to maintain her mental health status.”
Smith was visibly emotional during her sentencing hearing.
“I just want everyone to know I take full responsibility for everything that happened. I made a mistake,” Smith said. “My kids are my life and that’s who I hurt the most.”
Layman requested that the court put Smith on community control. Layman said that Smith has been taking part in parenting classes and is back on her medication.
The prosecution requested a prison sentence. Prosecutor Tony Kendell said that there is no greater responsibility a parent has than to take care of his or her children.
“She just failed at that miserably,” Kendell said. “She failed these children. She failed them in the past.”
Judge Christopher Gee made a similar comment, saying that there is no greater duty for a parent than to keep his or her children safe. Gee noted that the incident could have easily ended the lives of her children.
“By virtue of blind luck, no one was seriously hurt,” Gee said. “You have a lot of responsibility for your own mental health, and if you’re off your meds, then you need not be around your children, certainly if you’re prone to putting them in harm’s way.
You should understand that more than anyone else.”
Gee said he took into consideration the serious psychological harm done to Smith’s children, saying that her actions “terrorized” her children.
Smith has 69 days of jail credit. Upon Smith’s release from prison, she will be subject to three years of mandatory post-release control.
In other news:
• James L. Mumaw, III, 26, of Piqua, pleaded guilty to first-degree felony aggravated robbery in Miami County Common Pleas Court on Monday. The plea was part of an agreement with the state in which Mumaw would be sentenced to four years in prison in connection with this charge and nine months in prison for a separate charge of third-degree felony robbery. The sentences would run consecutively.
Mumaw was charged with first-degree felony aggravated robbery for reporterdly robbing Subway, located on the 1200 block of Ash Street in Piqua, with a butcher knife in April 2016. Mumaw also reportedly robbed a Marathon gas stationat the corner of Looney Road and Ash Street in Piqua, in December 2015. Mumaw did not display a weapon during that incident and was charged with third-degree felony robbery in connection with that incident.
Mumaw will be formally sentenced on July 8. Mumaw could face up to 11 years in prison for the Subway robbery and up to three years in prison for the Marathon robbery.
• Lisa M. Wells, 38, was in Miami County Common Pleas Court Friday in connection with a drug charge. Wells is an attorney and radio personality from West Chester.
An Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper conducted a traffic stop on Wells on Jan. 25 on Interstate 75 near Piqua for having an expired registration. According to court records, the trooper also noted that Wells was weaving in her lane and even crossing the lines on each side of her lane. The trooper reportedly saw pills in plain view before searching the vehicle and finding oxycodone, alprazolam (also known as Xanax), amphetamine, and dextroamphetamine.
Wells was charged with two counts of fifth-degree felony possession of drugs, one of which has been dismissed. She was also charged with an OVI, which has also been dismissed.
Wells is now requesting intervention in lieu of conviction. Judge Jeannine Pratt granted the order for consideration of intervention in lieu of conviction on Friday.
• Elaine Werling, 40, was sentenced to two years of community control for fifth-degree felony possession of heroin on Monday.
Werling will also be required to complete the Miami County Common Pleas Court drug court program. Gee reserved the sentence of 11 months in prison if Werling violates the terms of her community control.
Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336