CHARDON, Ohio —
A Geauga County woman on Saturday admitted driving drunk and said she was sorry for causing a man’s death.
Despite that, visiting Judge Paul Mitrovich handed her the maximum punishment, sentencing 43-year-old Kelly Cox to 9 1/2 years in prison for striking and killing Geauga County Juvenile and Probate Court Judge Charles “Chip” Henry.
Police say the Troy Township woman was drunk when her SUV hit and killed Judge Henry on May 23 of last year. The 53-year-old judge was riding his bike on Rapids Road in Troy Township when he was hit. Police say Cox never stopped.
Last month, Cox pleaded guilty to all six counts against her, including aggravated vehicular homicide, operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and leaving the scene of an accident. That day she offered this explanation, “I honestly thought I hit a deer,” Kelly said.
On Saturday, Judge Henry’s family was looking for an admission of guilt, true remorse and the maximum sentence for the woman who they say took away a beloved family man. “To me, the most important question is, why did she leave my Dad on the side of the road to die? What type of person doesn’t even call 9-1-1,” Henry’s daughter Kim Henry asked.
“I cringe thinking about him on the side of the road alone and suffering. I can only hope that he didn’t see the car that hit him speed away,” the judge’s brother Jim Henry said.
On the day of the accident, Cox’s blood alcohol level tested three times the legal limit. Judge Henry’s son, Adam, was looking for Cox to take responsibility for her actions. “She has taken more away from my family then she will ever know. She left my father on the side of the road to die and for that there is no excuses. So, I would like her to stop making excuses,” Adam Henry said.
When it came time to address the court, Kelly Cox turned to the Henry Family and expressed remorse: “I am so sorry for what I have taken from everyone of you. “Yes. Was I drinking? Yes, I was,” she admitted.
But, Judge Mitrovich was not convinced of Cox’s admission of guilt or remorse, and sentenced her to maximum sentence of 9 1/2 years. “I have concluded that you have no real remorse for your actions, only excuses,” Mitrovich said.
Cox was immediately taken from the courtroom, where she will begin serving her sentence at Marysville Correctional Facility.