Pleads no contest in crash death

LISBON – The Rogers woman whose actions behind the wheel were blamed for the March 12, 2012 death of Melissa Gorby pleaded no contest to vehicular homicide Tuesday in Columbiana County Municipal Court.

Ashley R. Clark, 24, Peace Valley Road, Rogers, was sentenced to 180 days in jail with 90 days suspended. Additionally, she was fined $500, had her license suspended for 10 years and will be required to perform 60 hours of community service.

According to Assistant County Prosecutor Megan Forsythe, Clark was presented with an offer for less than the maximum jail sentence last week and made her decision to plead after arriving at the courthouse on Tuesday to discuss the matter with her attorney. A two-day jury trial had been scheduled to begin on Jan. 29.

Family members of Gorby were present in the courtroom for the hearing and made statements before Judge Carol Robb sentenced Clark.

The jail time Clark is facing may have to wait for a while. Clark reportedly told her defense attorney, Coleen Hall Dailey, she is more than eight months pregnant. If the pregnancy is confirmed she will not be required to go to jail until 60 days after the delivery, Forsythe said.

According to reports at the time, Clark was driving south and Gorby, 33, of East Palestine was driving north when their vehicles collided on state Routes 165/170 (North Market) just north of East Palestine on March 12, 2012. Gorby, who left behind a son, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

Clark and two children were transported to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. Reports at the time also stated a passenger from Gorby’s vehicle was flown to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.