BUCYRUS — A Galion woman has been sentenced to 12 months in the Crawford County Jail as part of a plea agreement following the accidental shooting death of a child earlier this year.
Diane Ross, age 50, Galion, pleaded guilty to child endangerment, a third-degree felony, in November in Crawford County Common Pleas Court. Ross was charged in relation to an incident that occurred on May 18, 2021, in which a four-year-old male child suffered a gunshot wound to his face. The child received treatment for his wounds at Avita Galion Hospital and was later transported via helicopter to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus for additional treatment, but died from his injuries.
The toddler, who was Ross’s grandson, was in her care at the time of the incident. She is the owner of the firearm, a .22-caliber pistol, that was involved in the incident.
Judge Sean Leuthold sentenced Ross to 12 months in the county jail as part of a sanction to her five years of community control. Leuthold further ordered that if Ross fails to successfully complete the community control, she will be subject to up to 36 months in prison.
Leuthold ordered Ross to report to the Crawford County Jail on Jan. 15, 2022, to begin serving her sentence. She will remain on house arrest with an ankle monitor until Jan. 15. Leuthold also ordered that she is not to be in the presence of any children prior to reporting to the jail.
In his remarks during the sentencing hearing, Leuthold said he wanted “to make it 100% clear that this was an accident.” He said there was no intent on Ross’s part to harm the child, that emergency personnel were contacted immediately, and that measures were taken in an attempt to save the child’s life.
According to photographs entered as evidence in the case that Leuthold reviewed, the pistol was not secured and was accessible to the child on a shelf that he could reach.
“It is extremely negligent to have a gun visible with children in the house,” Leuthold said.
The judge also noted that the evidence photographs showed a child’s pacifier on the same shelf as the pistol. Leuthold speculated that the child might have been reaching for the pacifier and accidentally hit the gun. He noted that he was not considering that aspect of the evidence because it was speculation on his part, but went on to say that “it troubles the court.”