LIMA — A Lima man who police and prosecutors say struck and killed a pedestrian on Dixie Highway with his vehicle last year pleaded guilty Wednesday to reduced charges in the case and left jail for the first time in nearly eight months.
Bradley Pepple, 45, was indicted in October for failure to stop after an accident, a second-degree felony, along with misdemeanor counts of driving under suspension, driving under suspension, operating a motor vehicle without a valid license and failure to reinstate a license.
The charges stemmed from a traffic accident on Dixie Highway, south of Slabtown Road, that claimed the life of Chance Edwards. Pepple has maintained throughout the case that he was not aware his pick-up struck Edwards on the night in question.
Pepple on Wednesday accepted a deal from prosecutors that called for him to plead guilty to an amended third-degree felony count of failure to stop after an accident in exchange for the state’s dismissal of all remaining charges. The amended count removed language that alleged Pepple “knew the traffic accident resulted in the death of a person.”
Pepple faces a maximum prison term of 36 months when he is sentenced June 10. He was released from jail on an own-recognizance bond and was placed on house arrest following his plea.
According to court documents, troopers with the Ohio State Highway Patrol responded shortly before midnight on Aug. 25, 2020, to a fatal traffic accident in which the driver had fled the scene. Edwards was a pedestrian in the roadway when she was struck and killed, according to police reports.
After viewing surveillance cameras in the surrounding area investigators determined that a Ford pickup truck was southbound on Dixie Highway and veered to the left near the crash scene.
Troopers subsequently received a call with additional information about the fatal crash. The caller said a friend of hers was friends with Pepple, and the Lima man had been missing work and not answering phone calls.
The woman drove to his Pepple’s house and, according to court documents, was told by the Lima man that he thought he hit and killed a girl on Dixie Highway.
On Sept. 14 a trooper from the Lima post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol talked to Pepple about the incident. Pepple said he fled because he was driving a vehicle with fictitious plates with a suspended drivers’ license and no insurance. He admitted drinking three or four beers earlier in the evening but said he was not drunk, according to court records.