Driver pleads guilty to fatal crash

By Nick Walton -

A driver charged with vehicular homicide stemming from a November 2015 crash pleaded guilty to two felony charges Friday.

During a final pretrial conference, Lloyd J. Eaton III pleaded guilty to a third degree felony aggravated vehicular homicide charge and a fourth degree felony vehicular assault charge. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 10.

The charges are related to a crash on Nov. 27, 2015, at the entrance to Tractor Supply Company, 1637 E. U.S. Route 36.

On that date, Eaton drove a 1998 Lincoln Mark VIII westbound on East U.S. Route 36. He was turning southbound into the drive of 1637 E. U.S. Route 36 when it was struck by a 1998 Dodge Ram which had been traveling eastbound on East U.S. Route 36.

The collision caused Eaton’s vehicle to spin and strike a 2015 Toyota Rav4, which was stopped in the driveway of 1637 E. U.S. Route 36.

Tanya J. Morgan, of Urbana, was a front seat passenger in Eaton’s vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Tiffany Wilford, of Urbana, was a back seat passenger in Eaton’s vehicle and was extricated from the vehicle by the Urbana Fire Division before being flown to Miami Valley Hospital, Dayton, via CareFlight.

The grand jury indictment contended Eaton was driving with a concentration of marijuana metabolite in his whole blood, blood serum or plasma.

During Friday’s hearing, additional counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular assault, operating a vehicle while under the influence of a listed controlled substance or a listed metabolite of a controlled substance and operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse or a combination of them were dismissed.

When asked if he was on probation, Eaton said he was on community control from a theft case in the Champaign County Municipal Court at the time of the Nov. 27, 2015 offense.

Judge Nick Selvaggio told Eaton he faces a maximum consecutive sentence of 78 months in prison along with a maximum fine of $15,000 and lifetime driver’s license suspension.

By Nick Walton

Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.

Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.

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