ELYRIA – A 76-year-old man had his sentence suspended for striking and killing a bicyclist last year.
Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Raymond Ewers sentenced Ronald Dicenzo, 77, to 180 days in jail and a $500 fine, but suspended the sentence on condition of one year good behavior. Dicenzo’s license will be suspended for five years.
Dicenzo told the court “this past year has been the worst of my life” in an apology to the family of Charles Startup, 70, who he killed when his car struck Startup’s bicycle on Butternut Ridge Road in New Russia Township on Oct. 10, 2015.
“It’s not so often you have defendants who are so remorseful and victims who are so forgiving,” said Ewers prior to the sentencing. “Sometimes bad accidents occur and they involve very good people.”
Dicenzo pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter and operating a vehicle without reasonable control. Prosecutors dismissed a felony charge of failure to stop after an accident as part of a plea deal.
Startup, who was wearing a helmet when he was hit, was taken by helicopter to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, where he died from his injuries.
Startup’s son, Joshua, spoke on behalf of his family during the sentencing and told the judge that his father had just returned from a two-week bicycle trip through Argentina and was looking forward to retirement when he was killed. Joshua Startup said his father was in good health and his death was mourned by the whole family, including Charles Startup’s mother, who is still alive at 99.
Dicenzo and Startup lived just four houses away from each other in Oberlin, Joshua said, but never knew one another.
“I will take this burden to my grave,” Dicenzo said during his apology.
This story has been edited to reflect the following clarification: The jail sentence and fine were both suspended for Ronald Dicenzo.
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