Pletcher found guilty for high-speed chase


By Staff Report

In one of the county’s first trials of 2021, a young Roseville woman was found guilty of evading deputies and leading them on a high-speed chase last March.

Kaytlynn Pletcher, now 20-years-old, faces the possibility of spending up to the next three years of her life in prison for a crime she alleges she didn’t commit.

At trial, her then-boyfriend, who was the only other occupant in the vehicle, as well as at least one of the pursuing deputies say she was in-fact the driver that night in which she took her vehicle at speeds up to and over 90 miles per hour.

According to testimony provided in court, a vehicle occupied by Pletcher and her at-the-time 15-year-old boyfriend was traveling along the roadway near Sidwell Materials when a Muskingum County Sheriff’s Deputy attempted to make a traffic stop.

When the patrol vehicle’s lights and sirens were initiated, the driver of the vehicle failed to pull over and instead led the deputy on a chase.

The vehicle then began heading southwest towards East Fultonham.

As the chase continued other county deputies attempted to make their way towards that general direction to join in and assist with the pursuit.

At one point in the chase, the driver took a turn too fast and over negotiated causing the vehicle to go through multiple homeowner’s yards.

Shortly after that incident, the vehicle ramped a retaining wall and came to rest near the overpass of State Route 22 above Hoover Avenue near its intersection with State Route 345.

All of the vehicle’s airbags became deployed on impact.

The contention between prosecutors and Pletcher’s defense attorney, Kris Hill, was to who was driving the vehicle at the time of the chase.

Prosecutors alleged that Pletcher was the driver of the vehicle, while Hill argued that it was the juvenile boyfriend.

The entire day-long trial presented jurors with witnesses, experts and evidence that both sides used to supplement their arguments.

According to Muskingum County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney John Litle, the case was extremely straightforward due that the fact that Pletcher initially told deputies on scene that she was the driver.

Hill argued that Pletcher only told deputies that on the night of the crash because her boyfriend wasn’t allowed to be out driving, was out past curfew and feared being sent back to the juvenile detention center.

That ‘false confession’ that Hill alleged occurred was due to Pletcher wanting to protect her “first love” and not watch him get into more trouble, unaware at the time of the seriousness of the offense that had just occurred.

The chase deputy stated that he observed Pletcher get out of the front driver’s side door of the vehicle.

Hill’s response was that the couple had switched seats before exiting.

The Muskingum County Sheriff’s Department, unlike the State Highway Patrol, the City of Zanesville and other village law enforcement agencies within the county, does not utilize dashcam or body-worn cameras.

According to that deputy, because of the seriousness of the chase, he quickly approached the crash site with his gun drawn and ordered both occupants out of the vehicle.

Litle stated there was simply not enough time for the two to switch as the deputy quickly approached and wanted to secure both suspects.

Hill countered and stated that due to the seriousness of the high-speed chase that the deputy did not approach as quickly as he may have perceived, which would have given his client and her boyfriend time to make the switch.

Months after charges were filed against Pletcher, detectives sent off the vehicle’s airbags for DNA testing.

The theory was that the airbags would have made contact with the individual who was sitting in each respective seat at the time of the crash, thus providing additional evidence as to who was driving.

Hill would argue in court that the delay in sending the material off until after Pletcher’s indictment was a sign of the detective’s concern that she might not have been the driver.

Litle stated it was simply an extra piece of evidence being curated against Pletcher once finding out that she had changed her story about who was operating the vehicle and was intending to take the case to trial.

Ultimately, the evidence came back inconclusive and was unable to assist either side’s argument.

Throughout the trial, the jury also heard scanner traffic from the deputy’s radios the night of the crash, photos of the crash itself and testimony of deputies on scene that night.

After nearly a full day of trial, both sides rested and the jury went back and begun deliberating.

Unlike most recent criminal trials with a relatively quick verdict, the jury made up of six men and six women took nearly three hours to agree or disagree if Pletcher was indeed the driver that night.

The jury ultimately found Pletcher guilty of failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer, a third-degree felony.

Judge Mark Fleegle revoked Pletcher’s bond and ordered her to be held in the Muskingum County Jail until her sentencing at a later date.

Pletcher faces between 9 to 36 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Litle said that he was happy with the result that the jury returned, but that it was unfortunate that it had to be resolved with a trial.

“This was an extremely straightforward case,” Litle added.

Hill said that he was disappointed with the verdict, but that he was extremely proud of his client for standing up for her rights.

“We now move on towards sentencing and begin to analyze a potential appeal,” said Hill.

A sentencing date has not yet been set.