WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE — A 19-year-old is scheduled to be sentenced July 10 on a fourth-degree felony vehicular assault conviction for his role in an April 30, 2022 one-vehicle accident that occurred after leaving the Miami Trace High School prom.
Kylan Knapp, of Washington Court House, was originally facing three charges — the vehicular assault count as well as third-degree felony aggravated vehicular assault and a misdemeanor OVI charge. At his two-day trial on April 20 and 21 in Fayette County Common Pleas Court, the jury could not reach an agreement on all of the counts, and the foreperson reported “there was no probability of reaching a unanimous verdict,” according to court records.
The jury returned the guilty verdict solely on the vehicular assault count, and the court declared a mistrial on the other two counts.
A retrial was possible but after taking a week’s time to contemplate the best option, Fayette County Prosecutor Jess Weade and the victim in this case, Emily J. Helms, of New Holland, agreed that a retrial was not the best course of action.
When asked why this decision was made, Weade explained, “We didn’t want to put her (the victim) through testifying in court again.” He added that it was “a lot” on the victim the first time she recounted the story during the initial trial.
Weade said he will recommend some “time behind bars” for Knapp at the sentencing hearing.
This all stemmed from an accident on Bloomingburg-New Holland Road at the intersection of Lewis Road in Union Township at approximately 10:07 p.m. April 30, 2022. Knapp was driving the vehicle and Helms was his passenger.
Knapp was a Miami Trace senior and the victim was his guest at the prom, as reported by the authorities.
According to Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth, a 2002 Chevrolet 2500 pickup truck was heading northeast on Bloomingburg-New Holland Road when Knapp lost control at the intersection of Lewis Road. The vehicle went off the left side of the roadway and crashed into a stop sign, landscape area and tree before coming to rest in the yard of a residence.
Knapp was pinned beneath the vehicle and was extricated by members of the Washington Fire Department, Stanforth said. The passenger in the vehicle, identified as Helms, is believed to have been ejected from the vehicle at the time of the crash.
Both Knapp and Helms were treated at the scene and then transported by Fayette County EMS to Adena Fayette Medical Center. They were subsequently transferred to an area trauma center for further medical treatment.
The vehicle sustained heavy damage in the crash and was towed from the scene.
“Prior to the crash, it was reported that the Knapp vehicle and possibly a second vehicle were operating in a reckless manner on the school parking lot,” Stanforth said. “A nearby deputy was alerted to the reckless operation by deputies working the prom event. As the deputy was entering the parking lot of the Miami Trace High School, the vehicle later determined to be operated by Knapp departed the Miami Trace High School parking lot at a high rate of speed traveling northeast on Bloomingburg-New Holland Road. The deputy turned around to exit the parking lot and attempted to catch up with the vehicle but lost sight and subsequently drove upon the crash, rendering aid to the occupants until the arrival of EMS.”
According to the indictment, Knapp’s blood-alcohol level at the time of the accident was 0.083.
“There never was a breathalyzer, but there was a blood draw in the hospital after the accident,” said Weade. “It was all part of the investigation that led us to an indictment.”