Trial delayed for Dayton man in cyclist's death

Melvin J. Bohleen is charged with vehicular homicide in connection with a woman's death in May.


WALLA WALLA -- This week's trial for a motorist who struck and fatally injured a bicyclist on Middle Waitsburg Road in May has been postponed in Walla Walla County Superior Court to allow the defense more time to prepare.

Melvin J. Bohleen, 73, of 300 Cherry St., Dayton, now is set to face a jury starting April 10 on the charge of vehicular homicide.

The trial initially was set to begin Tuesday.

Bohleen is accused of driving with disregard for the safety of others when the wreck occurred between Valley Grove and Chase roads, about four miles north of Walla Walla.

Officials said he was heading south on Middle Waitsburg in a 2000 Jeep Cherokee about 10:30 a.m. May 21 when he drove up behind Sara S. Eustis and her sister-in-law, Teresa A. Wolber, who was a companion bicyclist.

The Cherokee struck Eustis, 61, of Seattle, who died after being taken to a local hospital. She had been in the Walla Walla area to celebrate her nephew's graduation from Whitman College.

Bohleen later told authorities he didn't see Eustis riding the bicycle.

Investigators saw no signs that Bohleen was impaired and there's no evidence he tried to avoid the collision, according to a Sheriff's Office report filed in court.

If convicted as charged, Bohleen would face a standard-range prison term of 15 to 20 months.

He has not been arrested pending the outcome of the case. However, he is not permitted to drive, according to a condition of his pre-trial release.


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