Rootstown woman charged in July hit-and-run

Emily Mills

Felony charges have been filed against a Rootstown woman in the July hit-and-run death of a Ravenna man in Kent.

A Portage County grand jury on Friday, Aug. 1 indicted Allison E. Barton, 22, of 7468 Tallmadge Rd., with two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, one second-degree felony and one third-degree felony; one count of failure to stop after an accident, a third-degree felony; two counts of operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs, both first-degree misdemeanors; and one count of leaving the scene of an accident, a first-degree misdemeanor, according to Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci.

Barton entered a plea of not guilty at an arraignment in Portage County Common Pleas Judge Laurie Pittman’s courtroom on Friday, Aug. 8.

The prosecutor’s office asked for a $250,000 cash bond, but Pittman set a bond of $500,000 cash. She also said Barton could attend sober success or Alcoholics Anonymous classes if she chooses to do so.

Akron attorney Jonathan Sinn, who is representing Barton, said the incident was one that could have been avoided.

“It’s extremely unfortunate,” said Sinn, who called Barton “Allie” during the arraignment. “My client is ultimately going to take responsibility. That can’t happen yet. There’s a lot of work that has to be done. But this is a terrible, terrible tragedy that could have been avoided.”

Barton appeared in court on a video screen through a live feed from the Portage County Jail.

Because Sinn said he had multiple other open cases, Barton signed a document waiving her rights to a speedy trial.

The pre-trial date has been set for Oct. 27 at 10:30 a.m., while the jury trial date is set for Oct. 28 at 9 a.m.

Barton has no prior criminal record, according to court records.

Vigluicci said Barton had heroin in her system when she struck first a car, then Richard Schoepe, 37, at 9:53 a.m. on July 17 in the 100 block of North Water Street near the intersection of North Water and Columbus streets near Star of the West Milling Co. She struck another car, then fled from the scene. She was apprehended in Brimfield by Brimfield police about 20 minutes after the crash and was taken into custody by Kent police.

Kent Fire Department paramedics transported Schoepe to Akron City Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11:28 a.m., according to Jill Elseg, a representative from the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office. The cause of death was blunt impact to the head and was ruled an accident, she said.

Barton was initially only charged with failure to stop after an accident, which was related to one of the cars she hit, not Schoepe. She pled not guilty to that charge at an arraignment on July 18. However, that charge has been dismissed and merged into the indictment containing the other charges, including vehicular homicide, Vigluicci said.

Schoepe was an employee of the milling company for 15 years and a youth wrestling and baseball coach. He is survived by his wife of 12 years, Farrah, and his children, Kyale and Spencer, according to a GoFundMe page set up for his family.

Donations to the family can be made to the Farrah Schoepe Donation Account at any Chase Bank.

Two additional benefits have been set up for Schoepe’s family.

The Kent American Legion Riders is hosting an all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner on Aug. 20 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Legion Hall, located at 1945 Mogadore Rd. in Kent. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children 10 and under. 

In addition, a 5K run and one-mile walk/fun-run called “Race 4 Rick” will be held Sept. 21 at the Ravenna High School stadium, which is located at 6589 N. Chestnut St. Registration begins at 7 a.m. and costs $20 for the walk/fun-run, which starts at 8:15 a.m., and $25 for the 5K, which is at 9 a.m. For more information, visit the website www.champracing.org, the event’s Facebook page, titled “Race 4 Rick” or email [email protected].

Emily Mills is the principal reporter for KentWired.com. Contact her at [email protected]