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Cops and Courts

Lorain woman indicted in October death of bicyclist


ELYRIA — A 21-year-old Lorain woman was indicted on multiple counts of aggravated vehicular homicide in connection with a crash that left a bicyclist dead in October.

Haylee Henderson was indicted on two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, a count of endangering children and three counts of operating a vehicle under the influence by a Lorain County grand jury, according to court documents unsealed Wednesday.

Police say Henderson struck bicyclist Laqua Butler, 38, of Lorain, with her minivan about 11:30 p.m. Oct. 28 in the 3700 block of West Erie Avenue. Butler was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash and was pronounced dead at the scene, police have said.

Lorain police responded to a reported hit-skip crash minutes later, and upon arrival they found a mangled bicycle on the north side of West Erie Avenue and a man performing CPR on Butler. Officers also saw a Chrysler Town and Country minivan with its hazard lights on that had crashed into some trees.

When an officer made contact with the driver, Henderson, she said that she and her infant son were uninjured, police said. The driver’s door of the minivan was unable to open due to the damage; the windshield was broken and was falling into the vehicle.

Anderson’s infant son was in the front passenger seat, but she told officers the child had been secured in a car seat in the rear passenger seat, where the base for the car seat was secured; she stated she had moved the infant after the crash to comfort him, the police report said.

An officer asked Henderson what happened and how the crash occurred.

“She said she was drunk and crashed,” the police report said. “I then asked Henderson if she had hit the male on a bicycle, and she said that she had and became upset and agitated, exclaiming loudly, ‘Why was he even out driving?’”

After getting Henderson and her son out of the vehicle, the officer saw “what appeared to be an empty liquor bottle on floor of the vehicle.

“I asked Henderson if she had been drinking, and she said that she was ‘(expletive) up’ and had been at her 21st birthday party at her father’s house,” the report said. “I could smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage on Henderson’s breath and she was swaying and nearly fell over as she was walking to my cruiser.”

Police described Henderson as “distraught” at the scene, continually breaking down crying. When she learned that Butler had died, she said “this is a movie” and asked the officer if he was lying to her, the report said.

Contact Scott Mahoney at 329-7146 or Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.

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