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Driver sentenced for crash that killed man waiting on tow-truck

| April 2, 2024
Craig Hanslik, 54, awaits his punishment for the Dec. 29, 2022 crash on I-77 near Bolivar that killed Christopher Peters, 38, of Canton. (WJER Radio)

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (April 2, 2024) – The Canton woman who lost her husband in a tragic crash on I-77 near Bolivar the December before last was in Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Monday to confront his killer.

Monica Peters didn’t wish any harm upon 54-year-old Craig Hanslik, saying instead that she prayed he would turn his life around and find salvation in the eyes of God.

“He loves you just as much as he loves me. He loves you as much as He loved Chris, as much as He loves everyone in this room. He loves you. He’s pursuing you, and He wants you to have eternal live with Him.”

Christoper Peters, 38, is described in his obituary as a hard worker with a servant’s heart who loved making people laugh. Common Pleas Court Judge Elizabeth Thomakos praised his widow for her grace and composure.

“One other thing I heard today from Mrs. Peters is he was a strong Christian role model for the kids, and all I can say is I’m looking at the strong Christian role model right here.”

Hanslik pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide and assault, OVI, and drug charges for the crash that happened while Peters was sitting in his broken-down SUV vehicle waiting on a tow truck. Troopers found more than 140 grams of methamphetamine inside the vehicle Hanslik was driving after the crash but couldn’t determine what kind of drug he was high on. Because of that, Assistant County Prosecutor Fred Scott asked Judge Elizabeth Thomakos to sentence Hanslik on the less serious of the first two charges. 

“We do not have a test in place to determine what exactly was in this system at the time this offense was committed or what potentially caused it, which is a necessary element of that.” 

Thomakos ultimately ordered the jointly recommended punishment – a mandatory 12 to 17-year prison term that she tacked on to the time Hanslik is already serving for drug trafficking and identity theft convictions in other counties. 

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