BATAVIA, OHIO — A 2016 Blanchester High School graduate was sentenced to six years in prison Wednesday for causing the death of her friend in a June car crash in Miami Township, Clermont County.
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, on June 29 a 1998 Honda driven by Autumn Noelle Neil, then 18, of Pleasant Plain went left of center and struck, head-on, a 2007 Volkswagen driven by Liza Haehnle, 18, of Milford. Haehnle received minor injuries.
Neil suffered serious injuries; her passenger, Sydney Blevins, 18, also a 2016 BHS grad, received life-threatening injuries. Blevins had been on life support and had several surgeries before finally succumbing to her injuries on July 25 at University of Cincinnati Hospital.
Neil was originally charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular homicide and driving under the influence of alcohol.
On Dec. 19, Neil’s attorney filed a written plea of guilty to one count of aggravated vehicular homicide, a second-degree felony. On Wednesday she was sentenced to six years in state prison, according to the Clermont County Clerk of Courts office.
Clermont County Prosecuting Attorney Laura Baron told the News Journal Wednesday that she was satisfied with the sentence, but would not have wanted any less prison time for Neil.
“What makes this especially aggravating is that Autumn had run off the road and crashed into a sign 20 minutes earlier,” said Baron. “She was able to drive to a UDF and see the damage to her car. She had the opportunity to prevent any of this from happening and to say, ‘I’m way too intoxicated’ and called her parents” or made other arrangements.
A jury trial had been scheduled to start on Jan. 23 in the Clermont County Court of Common Pleas.