Liberty man get three years in fatal hit-skip

WARREN — A Liberty motorist accused of killing a pedestrian July 30 received a three-year prison sentence Monday.

Daniel J. Waggoner, 29, of 17 James Lane, pleaded guilty to two felony charges before Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Peter J. Kontos. He was charged with failure to stop after an accident and tampering with evidence, both third-degree felonies.

Waggoner was accused of hitting Paul Rose, 61, of Warren, with his Toyota as Rose crossed Youngstown Road SE.

The defendant said nothing Monday as Kontos pronounced sentence.

“What you did is as an act of cowardice,” Kontos told Waggoner. “No one with an ounce of conscience would be able to leave the scene after striking somebody.”

Waggoner, who was on probation for a March 2015 domestic violence conviction, has been in the county jail since Aug. 4.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol said a Warren police officer who was working on an unrelated case in Liberty discovered Waggoner’s Toyota Camry Aug. 2 at a trailer park. He called the patrol and troopers confirmed it was the vehicle involved in the fatal accident in Warren.

Rose was hit by small, dark green four-door car around 9:40 p.m. July 30 as he was crossing the busy Youngstown Road near the intersection with Rogers Avenue SE. Witnesses told investigators the car continued driving east after striking Rose.

Rose was transported to Trumbull Memorial Hospital by the Fire Department. Later, Rose was flown to St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital’s Trauma Center, where he died from multiple injuries, the patrol said.

Mahoning County forensic pathologist Dr. Joseph Ohr said Rose suffered injuries to the head and chest, as well as a devastating leg injury. The death was ruled accidental.

A witness told police that Rose was known to walk the streets pushing a grocery cart full of cans.

After the fatal accident, the community showed an outpouring of support for the victim.

“He was a staple in our neighborhood… He was one tough guy. Paul always had a friendly greeting and often talked about the old days,” said friend Tom Weatherby after a vigil honoring Rose.

Collection bottles were placed at the Pit Stop, Smart Mart and Big Apple, spots along Youngstown Road where Rose used to hang out. The donations were used for his cremation.

“We appreciate the support we received,” Rose’s sister-in-law, Barbara Dyson said.

Court records show Michelle Smith, 27, also of Liberty, whom police said was riding in the car with Waggoner, was charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle, a misdemeanor. Her case was remanded to Girard Municipal Court.