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Family Wants Tougher Sentence For Man Who Caused Accident

NEW RICHMOND, Ohio (WKRC-TV)  It's been three weeks since Steve Chaney was seriously injured in a crash.

His girlfriend died from injuries she suffered. Now Chaney's family fears the driver who caused the accident won't receive a sentence that's tough enough.

Cody Rose, 21, of New Richmond pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter earlier this month.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol said Rose was driving with a suspended license July 29, when he pulled in front of Chaney's motorcycle while he turned left into a driveway on Bethel-New Richmond Rd. Steve Chaney's girlfriend, Maria Linfert, died several days later. Chaney suffered serious injuries to his head.

"He's going to need speech therapy, physical therapy," said Charlie Chaney, Steve's brother.

Since 2009, Rose has been charged in 10 separate criminal and traffic cases in Clermont Co. He's been convicted of driving under the influence, operating without reasonable control and speeding in Clermont and Hamilton Counties.

Rose has been fined and received suspended jail sentences. Chaney's family wanted Rose charged with a felony.

"If he had been driving recklessly it would be a felony and that's what I would like to see...he was driving under suspension so that makes him reckless [to me]." Charlie Chaney said. 

Clermont County Prosecutor Vince Faris said he couldn't discuss specifics of the case since Rose has not been sentenced.

But, he stood by the decision made about the charge. "The highway patrol and my staff looked at it and decided based on the facts that they gathered at the scene that this was the appropriate charge," Faris said.

He added, "We can certainly use his previous driving under suspension in court but we can't use his previous record otherwise in court to prove a case against him."

Faris said Rose driving without a license was a violation of his probation on an earlier case so the vehicular manslaughter charge is a misdemeanor of the first degree. Without the probation violation it would have been a misdemeanor of the second degree.

Meanwhile, Steve Chaney's family feels like the crash could have been prevented had Cody Rose received tougher sentences in the past.

"We feel like this kid in this particular county with these same judges continually is let off. He is not learning a lesson and now someone has died," said Christine Kochanowski.

Steve Chaney's family says they're so upset they'd like another prosecutor to review the case.

Prosecutor Vince Faris said the judge can take Cody Rose's prior driving and criminal history into account when he's sentences him next month.     

Rose's attorney, Todd Stoffel, told Local 12 News the crash was a tragic accident.  He says Cody Rose is a nice young man who's remorseful.       





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