Charles Caperton/Greene County DailiesJoseph Kreitz, 34, during trial in Common Pleas Court earlier this week, was found not guilty of two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide from a traffic crash on Jasper Road in August of 2005 that killed Tina Freelan and Joshua Day both of Xenia, who were passengers in his car.
XENIA — Jurors in the trial of a Xenia man accused of killing two friends in a drunk-driving accident on his birthday in August 2005 took about three hours Thursday to find him not guilty.
Joseph W. Kreitz, 34, was acquitted on two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide in the deaths of Tina N. Freelan and Joshua L. Day, both of Xenia.
The Greene County Common Pleas Court trial, which began Monday before Judge J. Timothy Campbell, hinged on who was driving the 2002 Ford Mustang on August 18, 2005 when it skidded off Jasper Road and struck a tree, ejecting all three people and killing two instantly.
Prosecutors said the driver was Kreitz, who, according to court records, had a blood-alcohol level about twice the legal limit at the time of the crash.
The defense advanced the theory that Day was driving because he was acting as a designated driver for Kreitz’ birthday celebrations, pointing out that Day’s blood-alcohol level was at or slightly below the legal limit.
Both sides used expert witnesses, crash scene photos and forensic data to make their case.
“They tried every way in the world to twist that car around to put me in the driver’s seat, but I was never there,” said Kreitz minutes after the verdict.
Defense attorney Charles Rowland characterized the case as a tragedy affecting three families, saying “no matter what we say nothing’s going to be able to change that.”
Rowland said a key factor in the defense was the testimony of Lee Edwards, a former Beavercreek police officer who is now a private investigator specializing in accident reconstruction.
Special Prosecutor David Landefeld, of Fairfield County, said he was “disappointed” in the verdict.
“Really no one at the scene other than the defendant himself was able to testify exactly what happened that night,” Landefeld said. “I still believe that [Kreitz] was behind the wheel.”
Landefeld was asked to try the case because Greene County Prosecutor Stephen K. Haller, while in private practice, at one time represented the Freelan family.