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Driver Pleads Guilty to Hit-and-Run Death of Columbus Teacher

DELAWARE (Ken Hines) -- A woman accused of fleeing the scene of an accident that killed a popular Columbus teacher has pleaded guilty to charges related to the crash.

Mary Kathryn Paul, 37, was arraigned Monday morning on felony charges of involuntary manslaughter and failure to stop after an accident in connection with the September 15 death of Robert Lennon.

Paul admitted in court to driving away after striking Lennon from behind with her vehicle as the 64-year-old St. Francis DeSales teacher rested along Miller-Paul Road in Harlem Township on September 15.

The impact killed Lennon instantly, according to a coroner's report. A passerby found the teacher's body in a ditch near the crash site.

After the crash, Paul blamed the resulting damage to her car on a collision with a deer. Her father, Harlem Township Trustee Jerry Paul, discarded a portion of the car's windshield, but soon reported the damage to the Delaware County Sheriff's Office.

In court Monday, prosecutors claimed Paul was not wearing her glasses at the time of the crash, despite suffering from bouts of blurred vision. The defendant claimed she initially believed she had hit a mailbox after striking Lennon.

Paul, who used a wheelchair during her court appearance, told the presiding judge she suffers from diabetes and depression. She faces a maximum of six years in prison; her sentencing date has not been set.

Lennon taught at DeSales for more than 40 years, and was also the school's cross country coach. His brother, John, told ABC 6/FOX 28 his family hopes Paul receives the maximum sentence, and believes the defendant is "either monstrously stupid, or just a monster or a combination of the two, I don't know which."

Paul will be released on a recognizance bond as she awaits sentencing.

 
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