Driver found guilty in triple fatality

October 21, 2010 crash that killed three on Detroit Ave. / Greg Pioterek

A 22 year old Toledo man was found guilty by a Lucas County Common Pleas Court jury of vehicular homicide in a crash that killed three of his friends.

Noel Papenfuse of Toledo was convicted of three counts of vehicular homicide. Vehicular homicide is a first degree misdemeanor. He was found not guilty of three counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, which is a felony.

Papenfuse was driving at a high rate of speed in the 5000 block of Detroit Ave on October 21, 2010 when he collided with a pickup truck driven by Paul Never, 69, of Ottawa Lake, MI. Never was pulling out into traffic from a private drive when Papenfuse collided with his vehicle. Papenfuse's car burst into flames after the crash.

Never was found to have been intoxicated at the time of the accident. He pleaded guilty on July 20 to three counts of aggravated vehicular homicide in connection to the deaths of Bryan Richardson, 20, Bradley Richardson, 21, and Noah McFadden, 23, all of which were passengers in Papenfuse's car. Never will be sentenced on September 26 and faces up to 15 years in prison and a lifetime ban on his Ohio driving privileges.

Papenfuse pleaded not guilty and a jury trial was held. Papenfuse' attorney, Jerry Phillips, argued, "The cause of this accident was Mr. Never backing out, without stopping at the curb and without waiting for the traffic coming at him."

Police say that Papenfuse was driving at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour in the 45 mile per hour zone at the time of the crash. It was determined that both men had been drinking prior to the crash, but Never's blood alcohol content was over the legal limit of .08.

Papenfuse will be sentenced October 31. He faces up to 90 days in jail.