Your Community Press newspaper serving Columbia Township, Deer Park, Dillonvale, Kenwood, Madeira, Rossmoyne, Sycamore Township
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2017
BECAUSE COMMUNITY MATTERS
Questions surround plea agreement in July 9 crash that killed priest Kevin Grasha email@example.com and Jennie Key firstname.lastname@example.org
Two weeks after Jeffrey Higgins crashed his car at the Wyoming Golf Club, killing a priest who was his passenger, a grand jury indicted him for aggravated vehicular homicide. But prosecutors disregarded that felony indictment. Higgins, the CEO of a Clermont County company that makes snack food seasonings, would have faced up to five years in prison. Instead, on Aug. 30 – seven weeks after the crash – Higgins was charged with a misdemeanor through a document called an information. Earlier this month, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor vehicular homicide. The 51-year-old Union Township resident now faces six months in jail, although he is unlikely to serve any jail time.
A search of court records dating back five years shows that most defendants who pleaded to that charge received suspended sentences. That means they would only The Rev. serve jail time if they vioChristopher lated certain conditions Coleman set by the judge. The July 9 crash happened after Higgins peeled out from the club’s parking lot at more than 50 mph. He lost control of his 2014 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 convertible, flipped the car, and landed upside down, partially in a golf course sand trap. Some have raised the question of Higgins receiving preferential treatment from the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office, but a spokesman for the office said the family of the victim, the Rev. Christopher Coleman, “was in favor of the misdemeanor charge.”
Jeffrey Higgins signs documents with attorney Alex Triantafilou in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court. THE ENQUIRER/SAM GREENE
Because Higgins and Coleman were close friends and Coleman’s family supported the lesser charge, “we agreed to accept the guilty plea to the information,” the spokesman, Triffon Callos,
said in an email. Coleman’s sister, Paula Coleman Black, declined to talk to The Enquirer. Coleman’s friend, Gary Thom, a former constable for the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court, was dismayed that Higgins was charged with a misdemeanor. “This feels wrong,” Thom said in an interview after the plea hearing. “He was acting like a kid showing off – 54 mph and 200-plus feet of skid marks. And he gets to go home tonight. Father Chris is gone.” Charging someone through an information happens occasionally. However, it is extremely uncommon for someone to first be indicted by a grand jury on a felony and then have that charge dismissed, with an information filed in its place. An information is a charging docuSee PLEA, Page 2A
Choral concert celebrates Our Lady of Fatima 100th Chuck Gibson email@example.com
Ed Baer, of Florence, brought Steelers jerseys and a terrible towel to burn. Baer said after 20 years as a fan, he is done with the NFL after national anthem protests. THE ENQUIRER/CHRIS MAYHEW
Bar leads NFL counterprotest over national anthem Chris Mayhew firstname.lastname@example.org
WILDER - U.S. Navy veteran A.J. Piening choked back tears when the national anthem was sung outside a Northern Kentucky bar. The Blue Ash, Ohio, resident wadded up a Cincinnati Bengals cap and jersey and tossed them into a flaming barrel afterward. “I’m done with the NFL,” Piening said. Top 10 Sports Bar in the Campbell County city of Wilder burned 10 jerseys Sunday af-
ternoon during kickoff time for many NFL games. More than a dozen additional jerseys were shredded along with the burn. About 30 people took part in the protest. The counterprotest was in response to recent widespread kneeling by NFL players when the national anthem is played as a protest for racial justice. “You just don’t disrespect the flag,” Piening said. “I’m not going to watch the NFL See ANTHEM, Page 2A
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MILFORD – St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church in Milford, Ohio, will open its doors to the public for a performance by the nationally acclaimed Choir of the Basilica at 7 p.m. Oct. 13. The professional choir from the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe in Orlando, Florida, will join choirs from St. Andrew the Apostle and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Milford, St. Columban in Loveland and St. Veronica from Eastgate. More than 100 voices will blendin a free concert to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the sixth and final appearance of “Our Lady” at Fatima, Portugal, on Oct. 13, 1917. Music director Dovile Krempasky of St. Andrew the Apostle in Milford bubbled with excitement about having the renowned conductor, organist and composer Dr. William Picher return to direct his Basilica Choir in concert with the other four choirs. Picher was the featured organist for a choral concert at St. Andrew in November 2016. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate the Fatima centennial,” said Krempasky. “We are really excited.” It began on May 13, 1917, when 10-year-old Lucia dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, 9 and 7 years old, first saw Our Lady at Fatima, Portugal. The children lived in a small village in the District of Fatima, Portugal, according to research by St. Andrew choir member Jen Soellner. “They saw a flash of light.
The Our Lady of Fatima statue as it was on display at Our Lady of Victory Church in Delhi Township on Nov. 11, 2010. FILE PHOTO
Her features were so dazzling they could barely look upon her,” Soellner explained. “The main thing is she had come there to ask them to come for six months on the 13th day, the same day every month, and later she would tell them who she was and what she wanted. One thing she always said was to pray the rosary daily.” Their claim to have seen Our Lady was met with great skepticism to the point they were detained by local government leaders and questioned without permission of their families. The children stuck to their story of seeing the vision of a lady of light who came from heaven. See CONCERT, Page 2A
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