LIMA — The attorney for an Elida man charged with aggravated vehicular homicide in the traffic death of a Wapakoneta woman a year ago argued in court Monday that prosecutors violated a court order by failing to provide the name of a man they intend to call as an expert witness.
Judge Jeffrey Reed agreed, but that did not prohibit attorneys from sparring repeatedly over a host of issues during a contentious hearing before a packed courtroom in the case of Frank Steinke.
Steinke, 65, is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide in the March 11, 2020, traffic death of Nicole Schulte of Wapakoneta. Prosecutors allege Steinke was driving under the influence of alcohol when his vehicle crossed the center line of state Route 501 and struck Schulte’s vehicle head-on.
Rexford successfully argued in an earlier motion that legal blood samples taken from his client following the crash should not be allowed as evidence at trial because Steinke had not yet been placed under arrest when he gave consent for a blood draw that ultimately confirmed he was legally drunk at the time of the accident.
Last month Rexford filed another motion to suppress and/or exclude the state’s use of an expert witness whose identity reportedly was not known until hours before Monday’s hearing, as well to quash medical blood test results done by New Vision Medical Laboratories.
Rexford argued Monday that prosecutors violated a court order by not previously releasing the name of Thomas Geis as a witness in the case. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Anthony Miller argued that Geis should not be considered an “expert” witness because he will testify only that established procedures were followed in testing Steinke’s blood sample.
The judge, however, ruled the state was in violation of an earlier order. He entertained other arguments and took them under advisement. Reed said he would rule in the near future how the case would proceed.
Because of repeated motion hearings and other delays during the past 11 months, Rexford said it is now doubtful that Steinke’s jury trial could begin April 6 as planned.