WARREN - Caitlin Finch cried tears of joy Friday after a jury refused to hold her responsible for any damages after her car collided with an Amish buggy in Mesopotamia three years ago.
Finch's attorney Stephen Doucette said the case boiled down to Aaron Fisher failing to yield from a stop sign at Girdle Road and state Route 87.
''The horse and buggy has the same responsibility as a motorist: to stop; look both ways; and continue looking,'' said Doucette of Middleburg Heights.
Fisher's buggy was northbound on Girdle, while Finch was westbound on Route 87 prior to the April 22, 2010, crash.
Doucette also convinced a jury in the courtroom of Judge Peter Kontos that Finch was not exceeding the speed limit and was not texting leading up to the crash.
Attorney Randy Rudloff, who represented the Fisher family, used phone records at trial to try and show activity on the cell phone account at the time of the crash.
But jurors found no significant cell phone activity between 5:30 and 6 p.m., which is when the crash happened.
Kontos replaced one juror after he admitted searching websites to try and reconstruct the crash himself instead of obeying the judge's orders to only consider instructions and testimony heard in the courtroom.
Finch and her father, of Greene Township, dismissed their own suit against the Fishers before the trial commenced on the Fishers' countersuit.
The Fishers, who lived on Gates Road at the time of the crash, were seeking damages in the form of $2,500 for the loss of the horse that Fisher's father, Atlee Sr., said he bought at an auction in Pennsylvania. They also sought $2,000 to $3,000 for the buggy that was totaled; and $9,000 in lost wages for Aaron, who suffered $35,000 in medical bills, about a third of which were paid by Ohio Medicaid programs.