Felony charges have been dropped against a Pickerington school teacher who authorities say caused her husband’s death when she hit him with a car during a dispute.
The way the charges were dropped against Angela K. Luke, however, means they can be filed again if a county grand jury sees fit to indict her.
Luke, 40, initially was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and reckless homicide in the death of her husband, Daniel A. Luke, 42.
She told detectives that her husband was hit by the car as she attempted to flee in it with their two daughters after he had beaten her on Sunday night. He reportedly was holding onto the car and fell off and under the wheels as she drove away outside their Bloom Township home.
A heart-wrenching 911 call made by their 12-year-old daughter detailed how Mrs. Luke was trying to escape her husband and how he’d been hit by the car.
The Fairfield County prosecutor’s office filed a request in county Municipal Court late Wednesday that the charges be dropped to allow for further investigation.
Prosecutor Gregg Marx didn’t return a call for more information on Wednesday night, but the charges were dismissed “without prejudice,” which means they can be refiled.
Jonathan Tyack, Angela Luke’s attorney, said that he had requested earlier on Wednesday that Marx drop the charges.
“This is a good thing and a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t necessarily end the case at this point,” Tyack said.
Tyack said he had asked Marx to drop the charges so Luke’s pay might be reinstated by the Pickerington school district.
She had been placed on unpaid administrative leave on Monday, which also meant that she and her two daughters would lose their health insurance at the end of the month, Tyack said.
But Pickerington Superintendent Valerie Browning-Thompson already had decided Wednesday to reverse her earlier decision and put Luke on paid leave, said David Ball, public-relations director for the school district.
He said that the superintendent changed her mind about the unpaid suspension after listening to the complete 911 call from the Lukes’ daughter. In addition, some Pickerington parents called the school in support of Mrs. Luke.
The superintendent consulted with school board members and the district’s attorney and the Ohio Department of Education before making the decision, Ball said.
“The superintendent weighed all the factors and decided the most appropriate course of action was to suspend her with pay,” he said.
Luke has been a teacher with Pickerington for 11 years. She teaches second grade at Tussing Elementary School.