New witness adds thoughts on 2014 drunk-driving accident
ABC6 On Your Side has uncovered new details about the drunk driver who was able to avoid serious charges out of a deadly crash because of a rare change in a death certificate.
It all began back in 2014.
Debbie Meadows was driving home after having dinner with friends.
Timothy Castle was also on the road.
Police said he was drunk when he slammed into her at Wilson and Trabue Roads, in west Columbus.
Prosecutors told ABC6, the more serious charge Castle faced- aggravated vehicular homicide- was thrown out after Franklin County Coroner Anahi Ortiz changed Meadows' cause of death to natural, due to cancer.
"I'm not a doctor," said Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien. "I'm not a pathologist. It seems to me that but for the automobile accident, it certainly contributed to the eventual death of the victim."
But Castle's court-appointed attorney, Todd Long, insisted Meadows' death had nothing to do with Castle's drunk driving crash.
"Those facts include a report from Dr. Werner Spitz, who's a world renowned forensic pathologist."
Spitz has worked on a number of high-profile cases, including the assassinations of President John Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He also testified at the trials of Casey Anthony and O.J Simpson, and was a consultant in the Jon Benet Ramsey case.
Pathologists refer to Spitz's book as "the bible of forensic pathology".
Even though court papers reveal Castle is indigent and can't pay for his defense, county taxpayers are picking up not only Castle's legal bills, but also the tab for Spitz, a forensic expert.
"Dr. Spitz likewise concluded that Ms. Meadows' cause of death was natural."
We reached out to Spitz; the woman who answered the phone hung up on us.
But two sources tell ABC6, since Spitz is a star pathologist. his fee in this case could be in the neighborhood of $5000- all tax payer money.
We tried to see for ourselves how much Spitz was paid- but access to that file was denied.
That information is sealed right now, but we may be able to see it after Castle is sentenced.
That happens March 21.
We have made several requests since last week to reach the coroner, Dr. Anahi Ortiz; so far those requests have been ignored.