A Marion County, Ohio grand jury indicted a common pleas court judge for a hit and run accident that left a teenager injured. According to prosecutors, Judge Jason Warner hit another vehicle, fled the scene, and then conspired to have his wife, Julia Warner, confess to the crime.
The two-car accident happened overnight between June 3 and June 4 in Marion County. According to court documents and reports from the Ohio Highway Patrol, Judge Warner turned in front of a car driven by a 19-year-old and hit it. The crash sent the teenager’s vehicle into a utility pole. As a result of the crash, the young man suffered head injuries.
While anyone could have an accident, most of us would stop if we caused them. However, instead of stopping to check on the condition of the other driver or calling 9-1-1, Warner’s vehicle fled the scene.
Then it only gets worse.
A Confession With A Problem
According to the Ohio Highway Patrol, Mrs. Warner showed up at 9:30 am in the morning at a patrol post. She told troopers she was driving. Mrs. Warner offered this explanation for leaving the scene, “I stopped and panicked, shocked, upset, and made a horrible decision to leave the scene. After being upset, thinking about it, praying about it all night long I knew the correct thing to do was to admit my fault of the accident and terribly poor decision to leave the scene.” Mrs. Warner claimed she was not drunk at the time of the crash but admitted to having three drinks. Interestingly enough, no sobriety test was administered to Mrs. Warner.
However, there was a problem with Mrs. Warner’s confession. While the victim in the crash didn’t see who was driving the other vehicle, there was another witness at the scene. That witness saw a man with short hair behind the wheel.
Judge Warner took a leave of absence from Marion County Common Pleas Court back in early August. That, despite multiple calls from Marion County public officials for him to step down from the bench. Warner said, “As a judicial official I’m ethically prohibited from commenting on matters under investigation. I hope the public would reserve judgment until the investigation is complete and the physical evidence is reviewed.”
Tampering With Evidence
The grand jury returned indictments against Jason and Julia Warner on four felony charges of complicity to:
- vehicular assault
- tampering with evidence
- vehicular assault
- leaving the scene of an accident.
Prosecutors said the pair will appear in court on September 15. to be arraigned at 11 a.m. at Marion County Common Pleas Court.
To avoid conflict of interest, the Special Prosecutions Section of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting the case.