A Madison Township woman convicted of a fatal drunk-driving accident reportedly drank again over the weekend.
Julie A. Hartge was arrested Friday at her 1161 Crestwood Drive home on a bond violation. The 43-year-old woman had been sentenced March 11 to two years in prison for aggravated vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular assault and driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. At the sentencing hearing, Richland County Common Pleas Judge James Henson told Hartge to report June 5 to begin serving her sentence.
Hartge will be back in court Wednesday at 2 p.m. for a re-sentencing during which she could face a stiffer penalty. She was driving Jan. 25, 2008, on Beal Road when she went off the road on a curve, struck a ditch and overturned. One of her passengers, Jeffrey Ferris, 44, was paralyzed from the neck down and spent nearly a year on a ventilator.
Ferris died after being taken off life support Jan. 13.
Another passenger in the fatal crash was Jeffrey Dale Fliger, also of 1161 Crestwood Drive. Richland County Probate Court documents show the 44-year-old man and Hartge filed for a marriage license on March 6.
At Hartge’s original sentencing, Henson also ordered her to make restitution and suspended her driver’s license for life. The judge allowed Hartge to report later to let her spend time with her children. She was released on bond and placed on electronic monitoring. County probation officer Dan Myers went to Hartge’s house Friday.
“I think they should sentence her to the maximum,” said Melissa Guderjahn, Ferris’ sister. “Obviously, she hasn’t learned anything at all.”
First Assistant Prosecutor Brent Robinson and defense attorney Marcus Wolf declined comment until after Wednesday’s hearing.
Guderjahn said Ferris suffered catastrophic injuries, including six or seven fractured neck vertebrae, a punctured lung and broken ribs. He underwent nine hours of surgery the day of the accident.
“The only thing he could do was lay there and watch TV,” Guderjahn said. “Most of the time, he couldn’t talk.”
While bed-ridden, Ferris suffered numerous infections, kidney stones and anemia. He was not able to attend the funeral of his father, who died in May.
“He was just sick all the time,” Guderjahn said. “It was just awful.”
Ferris ultimately decided he no longer wanted to be hooked up to life support.
“I held his hand through the whole thing,” Guderjahn said, adding that her brother died surrounded by friends. “He was so scared he’d die alone.”