Columbia woman pleads guilty to Garth Avenue hit-and-run

This is a story I’ve been keeping tabs on since the beginning of the semester. Although I’ve never thought of myself as a court reporter, I actually enjoyed following this trail and keeping up with its proceedings. 

Since you’re not allowed to bring a computer or recorder into the courtroom, I knew that I was going to have to be an extremely thorough listener and quick note-taker. Often, the judge, defendant and attorney would speak away from the microphones, making it nearly impossible to hear what they were saying. However, I was able to call the defense attorney after the hearing to confirm the judge’s ruling. Overall, it was a really great learning experience and I’m glad I ventured away from my comfort zone to cover the story. 

Columbia woman pleads guilty to Garth Avenue hit-and-run

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 | 7:07 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — An 87-year-old Columbia woman who hit an MU professor while driving on Garth Avenue last November and then drove away pleaded guilty Tuesday.

Boone County Circuit Judge Deborah Daniels accepted Marian Ohman’s plea during a preliminary hearing.

On Nov. 5, Ohman was driving north on Garth Avenue and hit Elizabeth Chang, an associate professor of English at MU. Chang was loading her children into her parked van. After striking Chang, Ohman continued driving and failed to report the crash. The children were not injured.

Chang was seriously injured and required surgery and rehabilitative therapy.

Two days later, Ohman turned herself in to police after realizing she’d hit Chang and was arrested on suspicion of leaving the scene of an accident, according to previous Missourian reporting.

Daniels gave Ohman a sentence of 120 days in jail, suspended upon completion of two years of unsupervised probation, surrender of her driver’s license, and on the condition that she not possess or operate a motor vehicle. She also must pay court costs and make a payment to the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program, and report any arrest within 48 hours.

Her defense attorney, Rusty Antel, said Ohman has already surrendered her driver’s license.

 Supervising editor is Katherine Reed.


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