Scioto County man to be tried in double vehicular homicide

Chris Dunham, PDT Sports Writer

March 20, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

A Scioto County man is scheduled to go on trial Monday in the death of his girlfriend and their daughter.

On Aug. 19, 2011, the grand jury indicted David R. Harshberger Jr., 40, of McDermott on two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, two counts of having a weapon under disability and one count of possession of drugs.

The girlfriend, Samantha Tackett, 30, of McDermott and the couple’s 2-year-old daughter, Delorian Harshberger, were killed when they were ejected from the vehicle operated by David Harshberger. Ohio State Highway Patrol Deputies said Harshberger drove his vehicle off the left side of the road and hit an embankment and overturned on Arion Road in McDermott on July 18, 2011.

According to Lt. Karla Taulbee, commander of the OSHP Portsmouth Post, Samantha Tackett was not wearing a seat belt, and was holding the child on her lap at the time of the crash, even though there was a child seat in the backseat of the car. Harshberger, troopers said, was also not wearing a seat belt and was uninjured.

“He (Harshberger) had some drugs in the vehicle and had paraphernalia on him,” Taulbee said in the days following the crash. “We also searched his house, where additional drugs were found.”

At a motion hearing on March 1, Judge Howard H. Harcha III, heard a total of 14 motions filed by Harshberger, who chose to defend himself at the hearing with Portsmouth attorney Mike Mearan as back-up counsel. Harcha denied Harshberger’s motion to have the two aggravated murder and the two counts of weapon under disability charges dismissed. He also ruled Harshberger would not be compensated for defending himself, a motion Harshberger withdrew, and ordered Harshberger to expend up to $1,000 to hire an investigator.

At the end of that hearing, it was announced the trial would begin on March 25.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com.