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01-31-2013: columbus drunk that killed william houck gets indictment (oh)


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Death of tow-truck driver gets indictmentA Columbus man was indicted yesterday on charges that he was drunk when his car struck and killed a tow-truck driver on the North Side last year.

Thomas G. Frederick, 59, of 4795 Kingshill Dr., is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, failure to stop after an accident, tampering with evidence and operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Frederick was driving with a blood-alcohol content of 0.24 percent at the time of the Sept. 29 crash that killed William Houck, 60, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said in a news release. In Ohio, a driver is considered impaired at 0.08 percent.

Police said Houck was hooking a disabled car to his tow truck on northbound I-71 just north of Cooke Road when Frederick slammed into him about 3:45 a.m.

Municipal Court records show that Frederick has multiple traffic-related convictions in the past 10 years, including three convictions for driving without a license, three for speeding and one for improper passing.

Frederick could face more than 15 years in prison if convicted of all charges, O’Brien said.

More than 100 tow-truck drivers from across Ohio joined last fall’s funeral procession for Houck, who worked for Broad & James Towing for 24 years.

Jim Shriner, who runs the business with his brother, said he knew that yesterday’s indictment was coming but drew no comfort from Frederick’s possible punishment.

“To be honest, it doesn’t do anything for me,” he said, then conceded, “I know a lot of my drivers don’t feel that way.”

One of Houck’s daughters dropped by the business recently to share the news that she is expecting a baby, he said.

“She’s actually due on his birthday, Bill’s birthday,” Shriner said. “She came in the other day with her sonogram.

“Bill’s still not going to be there for his family,” he said. “All we can do is go forward.

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