Woman faces trial for robbery and vehicular assault

May 8, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

Since being severely injured when a car fleeing police crashed into the Access Scioto County bus she was operating in October of 2012, Dorothy Hammond of Lucasville has been in medical care. Even though she has finally been sent home, she will most likely never work at her job again.

“She’s on a walker, and she has to do dialysis,” Larry Mullins, manager of Scioto County ASC said. “She got out in late March. They had released her to a nursing facility up in Charleston, W.Va. about a month earlier.”

Prior to that, Hammond had been in a hospital until February of 2013. She was first life flighted from the scene of the crash to Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington, W.Va., then transferred to Southern Ohio Medical Center.

“It was lucky she wasn’t killed outright,” Mullins said. “It was a long haul. I was really shocked that she wasn’t killed outright. She was thrown completely out of the bus.”

The story comes to mind with the announcement by the Scioto County Prosecutor’s Office that the driver of the car that hit the bus has had her trial set.

Melinda Weddington, 41, of Marmet, W.Va., who has a listed Portsmouth address on Fourth Street, is now set for trial on June 3 in Scioto County Common Pleas Court. She faces charges of aggravated robbery, robbery, felonious assault, aggravated vehicular assault, possession of drug abuse instruments and failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer.

Weddington’s vehicle was being chased by Portsmouth Police when it slammed into the right front of the bus Hammond was operating. The vehicle then crashed through the front of the Fish Bowl bar. At the scene, Police Lieutenant Jerry Leach explained the chain of events.

“It was a shoplifting that turned into a robbery at the Family Dollar Store on 11th Street involving the lady that was driving the station wagon (Weddington),” Leach said. “She also hit-skipped a vehicle over in front of Portsmouth Building Supply on Gallia Street.”

Detectives reportedly located the vehicle driving in the east end of Portsmouth and gave chase.

“She ran from the detectives when they operated their lights and siren,” Leach said. “She continued to run from them, then she ran into the ASC bus here at Eighth and Campbell.”

According to the arrest report, Weddington entered the store and took items she attempted to conceal. When she was stopped by a store employee, she reportedly tried to leave without paying for the items and bit the employee on the arm, causing injury.

“What we had was a shoplifting incident, and (Weddington) resorted to violence,” Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware said. “She had struck two other cars before we even initiated the pursuit.”

There was also another injury from the wreck with the ASC buss. A passenger, Robert Blair, 63, was treated and released at SOMC.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.