YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — An Austintown woman who was sentenced in June to six months in jail for her role in a fatal crash is asking to be released early.
Attorneys for Waylynn Ward, 26, filed a motion on Thursday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court asking Judge R. Scott Krichbaum that she be released early from the Mahoning County jail.
Ward was sentenced on June 28 to six months in jail following her guilty plea to a misdemeanor count of vehicular homicide. The sentence is the maximum.
She is accused of causing a Sept. 7 accident that killed Daniel Harvischak, 65, of Youngstown, in the 3900 block of Tippecanoe Road.
Ward was originally charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, a third-degree felony, but the charge was downgraded because the victim had some culpability in the accident, prosecutors said.
Both cars were traveling very fast at the time of the accident that killed Harvischak, which her attorney, Frank Cassese, noted in his request for early release.
Cassese said during his client’s sentencing hearing that Ward and Harvischak had some sort of encounter at a prior intersection and that Harvischak wanted Ward to roll down her window, and when she wouldn’t, he gave her an obscene gesture.
Ward was on her way to work at St. Elizabeth Health Center’s Boardman campus, where she was a nurse, and her son was in the car with her to go to daycare.
The two cars continued on at a high rate of speed until the accident.
The two vehicles were going south on Tippecanoe Road and were parallel with each other. As the turning lane and through lane merged into one lane, the two vehicles collided head-on with a third vehicle.
The third vehicle and Ward’s vehicle both caught on fire.
Ward, her son and the driver of the other vehicle, a Niles school resource officer, had to be taken to a hospital to be treated for their injuries.
In his motion, Cassese said the experience has taught Ward that she needs to keep her emotions in control.
“The time spent in incarceration has made the defendant realize she can never allow her emotions to overtake her better judgment,” Casesse wrote.
Prosecutors have yet to file a response.
As of Thursday, Ward has served 85 days in jail and has no prior criminal record, the motion said.