Driver pleads guilty to vehicular assault charge


A driver faces a potential driver’s license suspension after he pleaded guilty to a felony vehicular assault charge this week.

John W. O’Laughlin, 71, of Mechanicsburg, pleaded guilty to a fourth degree felony vehicular assault charge Monday during a plea hearing. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 20. He faces a potential maximum sentence of 18 months in prison in addition to a $5,000 fine and mandatory driver’s license suspension.

O’Laughlin was indicted in March following the Dec. 1, 2015, crash.

On that date the countywide communications center received a 911 call at 8:17 p.m. in reference to a head-on crash involving two motor vehicles in the area of 9716 state Route 4. Mechanicsburg Fire and EMS along with sheriff deputies responded to the crash.

A witness at the scene advised that she had been behind a white 2005 Chevrolet Trail Blazer on Catawba Mechanicsburg Road that was traveling at a slow speed. Deputies were advised that this vehicle then turned northbound onto state Route 4 and was traveling in the opposite lane.

The witness said she blew her horn to get this driver into the northbound lane and slowed as they approached a hill. She stated a white 1999 Chevrolet truck was traveling southbound and collided with the Trail Blazer.

An investigation revealed that O’Laughlin was driving the Trail Blazer and the truck was driven by John E. Zugelder, of Springfield. CareFlight was called to the crash scene and transported Zugelder to Miami Valley Hospital as he suffered serious injuries from the crash.

By Nick Walton

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

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