OTTAWA — A young Ottoville woman who left the scene of a near-fatal collision when the pickup truck she was driving struck a Delphos bicyclist earlier this year escaped prison time during her sentencing hearing Monday, thanks in part to a recommendation from the victim’s wife.
Kelly Getz, whose husband Wayne suffered extensive injuries when he was struck on May 22 by a vehicle driven by Makenna Klausing, read a lengthy statement to the court outlining the trauma her family has undergone since the incident. Near the end of her prepared remarks, the woman addressed Klausing directly.
“Makenna, when I first wrote this I asked for a small amount of jail time for you. But in the weeks since then I’ve spent some time praying for you and today I am fine with the court giving you no jail time. You showed poor judgment, but it is my choice to offer you mercy.”
Klausing, who made no statement to the court upon the advice of her attorney, due to pending civil litigation, wept openly during Mrs. Getz’s remarks.
Putnam County Common Pleas Court Judge Keith Schierloh sentenced Klausing to five years of probation and six days in the county jail. She was ordered to make restitution in the amount of $33,615.15 to Wayne Getz. Her driver’s license was suspended for three years, although work privileges were granted.
She is to report to jail on Friday.
The charges stem from a May 22 traffic accident on state Route 66, just south of Putnam County Road R, in which a GMC Sierra pickup truck driven by Klausing struck a bicycle ridden by Wayne Getz, 57, of Delphos. A witness who was in his yard at the time saw the pickup truck strike the bicycle and then continue on.
Kelly Getz told the court on Monday that her husband suffered injuries that include a compound fracture of his left arm, a traumatic brain injury, a pelvic fracture, internal bleeding and other “widespread” medical issues, some of which remain some four months later.
“Wayne’s future is uncertain,” she told the judge. “There’s less than a 50% chance that some of the damage will ever heal. His hand is working at about 30% now and since the accident those of us who know him well see differences in him in terms of memory loss.”
Court records show that during an interview with a deputy from the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, Klausing said she had “no recollection” of the incident but did acknowledge observing damage to the truck when she returned home that evening. The report said the damage was “considerable.”
No contest plea
Klausing, 22, entered a plea of no contest in August and was found guilty of striking a bicyclist with her vehicle and then leaving the scene of the accident.
She agreed to a negotiated offer with a plea of no contest to a fourth-degree felony count of vehicular assault. In exchange for that plea, prosecutors dismissed a count of failure to stop after an accident, a felony of the fifth degree.
Court records show that during an interview with a deputy from the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, Klausing said she had “no recollection” of the incident but did acknowledge observing damage to the truck when she returned home that evening. The report said the damage was “considerable.” Klausing admitted the truck she had been driving was involved in an accident, according to documents.
During Monday’s hearing, Getz’s daughter said Klausing made a horrible mistake by leaving the scene of the accident and allowing her father to remain lying injured on the ground.
“Running is easy; taking accountability is hard,” she told Klausing.
Kelly Getz embraced Klausing and hugged her at the conclusion of the hearing.