Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters announces indictment in death of bicyclist Michael Prater

Today, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters announced the indictment of Melinda Woodall (DOB 3-18-81) in the January 31st death of bicyclist Michael Prater.  Woodall is charged with 2 counts of Aggravated Vehicular Homicide (Felony 1/Felony 2) , 1 count of Failure to Stop After an Accident (Felony 3), 3 counts of Possession of Drugs (Felony 5), and one count of Possessing Drug Abuse Instruments (Misdemeanor 2).  If convicted of all charges, she faces the possibility of over 15 years in prison.

Mr. Prater was riding his bicycle on U.S. 52 in Anderson Township at approximately 4:00 p.m. on January 31st when the vehicle driven by Woodall struck him from behind.  Mr. Prater was obeying all traffic laws and following all bicycle rules.  Upon impact, Mr. Prater struck Woodall’s windshield and was propelled approximately 50 yards.  Despite this, and with heavy damage to her vehicle, Woodall failed to stop and assist Mr. Prater or contact authorities.  Witnesses at the scene contacted the police.

Mr. Prater was transported to University Hospital where attempts to save his life were unsuccessful and he succumbed to his injuries. 

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department investigated the incident and quickly located Woodall in the vicinity of 1800 Sutton Road walking away from her disabled vehicle.

Woodall is charged with being under the influence of drugs at the time she struck and killed Mr. Prater.  Three pill vials were found hidden on her person and syringes, a tourniquet and a metal spoon were found in her purse.  Toxicology results are pending.  Woodall was also under a driver suspension at the time of this incident.

Prosecutor Deters commented, “Absolutely senseless.  Mr. Prater was out for what should have been an enjoyable Sunday afternoon bicycle ride.  Our community is grieving the loss of a husband, father and friend simply because of someone under the influence of drugs.”