Pletcher gets prison after trial of high-speed chase with underage boyfriend in vehicle


By Staff Report

A young Roseville woman will spend her 21st birthday in prison after a jury of Muskingum County residents found her guilty of failing to pull over for law enforcement, taking them on a high-speed chase.

Kaytlynn Pletcher, 20-years-old, appeared in court Monday morning before Judge Mark Fleegle pleading for community control after she didn’t take a plea deal, choosing to exercise her constitutional right to have her case heard by a local jury.

According to Assistant Prosecuting Attorney John Litle, Pletcher has failed to take responsibility for her actions, putting the public in danger and wasting the court’s time by refusing to take a plea.

Pletcher is accused of operating a vehicle that was occupied by her at-the-time 15-year-old boyfriend.

The vehicle 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.

At trial, contention between prosecutors and Pletcher’s defense attorney, Kris Hill, was as 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, which occurred last month, 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 argued 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.

That evening, directly after the trial, Muskingum County 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.

She faced between 9 to 36 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. There was also the possibility she be placed on community control.

While neither Litle nor Hill would say what the original plea deal was in the case, at sentencing Monday Litle hinted that there was a prior condition she serve some form of prison time.

“In a similar case with different circumstances the defendant could have been coming off community control,” said Litle referring to her unwillingness to accept responsibility and ultimately taking the case to trial.

Hill countered, hinting that community control was not an option during plea negotiations, saying that his client now had the mark of a convicted felon.

Further, he asked Fleegle to accept time served of 46 days in county jail and impose a sentence of community control, saying that Pletcher shouldn’t be penalized for exercising her constitutional right to have her case examined by a jury.

According to Hill, in Pletcher’s presentencing investigation she expressed remorse for what had happened that night and how she is very unlikely to commit another crime, what’s referred to as a low likelihood of recidivism.

In addressing Fleegle, Pletcher said she took full responsibility for the events that transpired and that she was truly sorry for what she put the court and her family through.

Fleegle told Pletcher she put herself, the responding police officers and the public in great danger that night.

“Luckily no one was hurt,” said Fleegle. “You could have just as easily ended up killing someone or dead yourself.”

Considering the situation, Fleegle followed the prosecutor’s recommendation to sentence Pletcher to the maximum possible sentence of 36 months behind bars.

The Judge also said he wouldn’t be opposed to judicial release based upon how she conducts herself in prison, a motion that Litle said prosecutors also wouldn’t oppose.

Pletcher’s license will also be suspended for a period of three years.

When asked, Pletcher said she wasn’t intending to file an appeal of the case, with her attorney saying the two had only briefly discussed the possibility.