Minerva man accepts plea deal in fatal motorcycle crash

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Brandt Saunders, a 24-year-old man from Minerva, has accepted a plea deal following a fatal motorcycle crash last fall. Saunders recently pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide, a second-degree felony; possession of cocaine, a fifth-degree felony; operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs; and failure to comply with a police officer, a third-degree felony. He will be sentenced by Judge Christine Croce on July 29 in Summit County Common Pleas Court.

In the early hours of October 26, a New Franklin police officer spotted a motorcycle traveling south on Manchester Road at an excessive speed of 90 mph in New Franklin (Summit County). The officer attempted to stop the motorcycle on Manchester Road at Johns Road, but the driver, accompanied by a female passenger, disregarded the officer’s signal and fled westbound on Johns Road.

Realizing the pursuit would be unsafe, the officer discontinued the chase but continued westbound on Johns Road until losing sight of the motorcycle. Witnesses reported that the motorcycle continued westbound from Grove Road on Johns Road, maintaining a high rate of speed.

A short while later, the officer discovered the motorcycle crashed at the dead end of Johns Road. The female passenger, identified as Roseann Mauk, 40, of Coventry Township, was found in close proximity to the crash site and was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Meanwhile, the motorcycle’s driver had fled on foot, seeking refuge in the nearby woods. Utilizing a drone, law enforcement authorities successfully located the driver, who was later apprehended. Saunders, who sustained non-life-threatening injuries, was subsequently transported to a nearby hospital for medical attention.