PDT Staff Writer
David Harshberger, 40, of McDermott, charged with vehicular homicide in the deaths of his girlfriend and his two-year-old daughter, will not be going to prison anytime in the near future. A Scioto County Common Pleas Court jury was unable to reach a verdict on either of the two vehicular homicide charges Thursday, resulting in Judge Howard H. Harcha, III declaring a mistrial on both counts.
“I’ve declared a mistrial on count one (vehicular homicide) and count two (vehicular homicide),” Harcha said. “I’m going to set those for a re-trial. We’ll have a pre-trial before we get to the actual jury trial date. At this time I’m going to modify bond on count one and two. Bond on each count is going to be set at $50,000, and I’m going to allow you to sign your own bond as to each count.”
The same jury did, however, find Harshberger guilty of having a weapon under disability and possession of drugs. Harcha sentenced Harshberger to 18 months in prison on the weapon charge and 11 months in prison on the drug charge, with sentences to run concurrently. The court then looked into his time served and determined he had already served 20 months, which means he has no time to serve. Harcha did order Harshberger to have no contact with Tackett’s mother, Stella Cable.
Harshberger’s girlfriend, Samantha Tackett, 30, of McDermott and the couple’s two-year-old daughter, Delorian (DeeDee) Harshberger, were killed when they were ejected from the vehicle the official report says was operated by Harshberger. Ohio State Highway Patrol Deputies said Harshberger drove his vehicle off the left side of Arion Road in McDermott, hit an embankment and overturned July 18, 2011.
Acting as his own defense attorney, Harshberger maintained throughout the trial that he wasn’t even in the vehicle, and that Tackett had even driven over his foot pulling out, just seconds before the crash.
“I am very lucky,” Harshberger said as tears filled his eyes. He told the Daily Times, “I miss them. I just miss them. I’m blank right now. They were my everything. It’s a learning experience. Sometimes you don’t learn once. Sometimes it takes twice. One of them is enough.”
Will his life be changed forever as a result of the crash and the subsequent trial?
“My life’s been changed,” Harshberger said.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at email@example.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.