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State v. Irwin-Debraux

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Montgomery

December 6, 2019

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
ALYSSA IRWIN-DEBRAUX Defendant-Appellant

          Criminal Appeal from Common Pleas Court, Trial Court Case No. 2018-CR-3580

          MATHIAS H. HECK, JR., by HEATHER N. JANS, Atty. Reg. No. 0084470, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office, Appellate Division, Attorney for Plaintiff-Appellee

          MATTHEW M. SUELLENTROP, Atty. Reg. No. 0089655, Attorney for Defendant-Appellant

          OPINION

          TUCKER, J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Alyssa Irwin-Debraux, appeals from her convictions for one count of grand theft of a motor vehicle, a fourth-degree felony pursuant to R.C. 2913.02(A)(1) and (B)(5); one count of involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony pursuant to R.C. 2903.04(A) and (C); and one count of failure to comply with an order or a signal of a police officer, a third-degree felony pursuant to R.C. 2921.331(B) and (C)(5)(a). Raising two assignments of error, Irwin-Debraux argues that her sentences should be vacated because the trial court ordered her to serve three terms in prison consecutively without fulfilling the requirements of R.C. 2929.14(C)(4); because the court failed to consider the purposes and principles of sentencing; and because the aggregate term of imprisonment imposed by the court constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

         {¶ 2} We find that the trial court erred by ordering Irwin-Debraux to serve terms in prison for grand theft of a motor vehicle and involuntary manslaughter in the absence of the findings required by R.C. 2929.14(C)(4), but otherwise, we find that her arguments lack merit. Therefore, the case is remanded to the trial court for resentencing consistent with this opinion. In all other respects, Irwin-Debraux's convictions are affirmed.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         {¶ 3} On September 11, 2018, Irwin-Debraux stole a 2009 Jeep Patriot and fled from the ensuing police pursuit. In her attempt to evade capture, she drove the vehicle at speeds ranging from 65 to 80 m.p.h. along State Route 741, at times crossing into the opposing lanes of traffic.

         {¶ 4} A motorist attempting to avoid a head-on collision with Irwin-Debraux instead collided with a vehicle being driven by Mary Taulbee. Taulbee's vehicle spun through an intersection and was struck by a police cruiser involved in the pursuit of Irwin-Debraux. Mary Taulbee died from the injuries she suffered. The officer, too, was injured, though he survived.

         {¶ 5} After the accident, Irwin-Debraux tested positive for the consumption of several illicit substances. She was 18 years of age at the time.

         {¶ 6} On September 24, 2018, a Montgomery County grand jury indicted Irwin-Debraux on one count of grand theft of a motor vehicle. By way of a bill of information filed on December 20, 2018, she was charged with one count of failure to comply with an order or a signal of a police officer and one count of involuntary manslaughter; on the same date, she pleaded guilty as charged on all counts.

         {¶ 7} The trial court held a sentencing hearing on February 7, 2019, and on February 8, 2019, it filed a corresponding judgment entry of conviction. Irwin-Debraux timely filed her notice of appeal to this court on February 25, 2019.

         II. Analysis

         {¶ 8} For her first assignment of error, ...


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