GREENVILLE – A Greenville man was supposed to start his trial today, but instead, he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge for aggravated vehicular homicide.
Tyler J. Holzapfel, 23, of Greenville, pleaded guilty to the charge, which was reduced to a second-degree felony from a first-degree felony in exchange for the plea. Additional charges of failing to stop after an accident, driving under the influence, driving under suspension and furnishing alcohol to a minor also were dismissed.
Holzapfel was believed to have been driving drunk on a suspended license Aug. 2, 2015, when he crashed his 2004 Ford pickup truck into a utility pole and a fence in the 2000 block of Mills Road near New Madison. The vehicle came to a rest on its top, and Holzapfel fled the scene.
He left behind his 19-year-old passenger, Samuel Barga, of Greenville, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Holzapfel has a history of multiple driving under the influence offenses, in addition to underage consumption.
Jesse Green, of the Darke County Prosecutor’s Office, and Jose Lopez, Holzapfel’s defense attorney, jointly recommended a sentence of four years in prison with a minimum of three years to be served, as well as restitution to the Barga family for funeral expenses. A mandatory license suspension of three to 10 years also will be imposed.
Holzapfel remains free on bond. Sentencing is scheduled for April 21.
Also in court Tuesday was Rodney Abney, of Bradford, for his arraignment on a charge of aggravated vehicular assault, a third-degree felony, and driving under the influence, a first-degree misdemeanor.
Abney was indicted for a Nov. 14, 2015, incident causing serious physical harm to Cierra Wolfe.
He could face 6 months in jail to three years in prison and fines ranging from $375 to $11,000.
Abney was released on an own recognizance bond and is scheduled to appear for a pretrial hearing April 21.