menu Home
Local News

Jail time ordered for deadly rear-end collision on Route 39

| July 11, 2024
Photos of the late William "Billy" Rienerth Jr. of Brunswick, who was killed on Nov. 2, 2023 in a rear-end collision involving a Kimble dump truck. (WJER Radio)

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (July 11, 2024) – A city man is serving 60 days in jail for the Nov. 2 crash on State Route 39 that killed a 62-year-old whose van was stopped in traffic.

Scott A. Conley, 28, received the punishment Wednesday after pleading no contest to vehicular manslaughter and failing to maintain an assured clear distance. He had been facing a vehicular homicide charge, but the prosecution agreed to dismiss that count as part of his plea deal.

“The charge of vehicular manslaughter fits the facts of this case considering that requires a minor misdemeanor violation that results in a death and, in this case, it would be the assured clear distance,” said Sugarcreek Prosecutor Steven Anderson. 

The victim was William “Billy” Rienerth Jr. of Brunswick, whose family described him as a kind and generous man who gave the best hugs and enjoyed showering the people he loved with special gifts.

Impairment wasn’t suspected, and the prosecutor’s office confirmed Conley wasn’t using his phone at the time of the crash, which he says happened while he was experiencing a coughing fit.

“And when I looked up I did the best I could, pegged the brake, swerved, I went back to the accident so many times and stared at the road and cried because I never wanted to hurt anybody in my life.”

New Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Nan Von Allman handed down the sentence, which includes a $750 fine and a two-year driver’s license suspension – the maximum allowed for a vehicular manslaughter conviction. 

“I’ve had people say that they were blinded by headlights, that there was gravel on the road, that there was ice… and the law is very clear that regardless of the traffic conditions, or the deer or whatever it is, you have to be able to keep your vehicle at all times under control.” 

The driver behind the dump truck told investigators that he didn’t observe any brake lights before the crash. Debris struck a pickup truck traveling in the opposite direction whose driver wasn’t injured.

Written by