Man Gets 20 Years Prison For Double Traffic Homicide Case

A rear end traffic crash last June on Back Beach Road and Highway 79 has results in a local man being sentenced to more than 20 years in prison Wednesday.

Circuit Judge James Fensom sentenced Jonathan Dillard of Youngstown after accepting his plea to two counts of DUI manslaughter.

Assistant State Attorney Larry Basford told the Judge that the state he was prepared to prove at trial that Dillard, was driving after ingesting LSD. He was eastbound on Back Beach Road June 9th of last year when he crashed into a car with two elderly passengers which had stopped in a turn lane waiting to go northbound on U.S. 79.

The impact killed MaryJo Anne Badali and Mary Elizabeth Birks who were on their way to the airport at the time.. Investigators estimated that Dillard’s vehicle was traveling between 80 and 100 mph at the time of crash.

Dillard pleaded no contest to two counts of DUI manslaughter and one count each of possessing less than 20 grams of marijuana and resisting officers without violence.

Judge Fensom adjudicated him guilty and sentenced him according to the plea agreement to 243 months in prison.

Numerous members of Birks’ and Badali’s families filled rows of pews in the courtroom and Basford told Fensom that the families approved the plea.