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CLEVELAND (WJW) — A dump truck driver was convicted in the reckless highway death of a local businessman and learned his fate Thursday.
Jason D. Beard, 40, of Bedford, was found guilty of aggravated vehicular homicide and sentenced to three years’ probation, prosecutors told FOX 8 News. His five-year prison sentence was suspended. His license has also been suspended for five years, and has accrued six points.
Daniel Ripepi (Courtesy of A. Ripepi & Sons Funeral Home)
Ripepi, 62, was married with six children and was the vice president of A. Ripepi & Sons Funeral Home.
He was killed in September 2020 while traveling along Interstate 480, by a falling overhead highway sign that had been struck loose by the dump truck driven by Beard. Beard was reportedly driving with the truck’s bed raised.
Beard did not appear for his March 2021 arraignment, FOX 8 News reported. He was in Mexico with his 8-year-old son. It was apparently an unplanned visit, prompting the boy’s mother to file a missing person report.
Beard was later indicted on charges of kidnapping and interference with custody. He was ordered held on a $200,000 cash bond, court records show.
He’s due for trial on those charges on May 8, prosecutors said.