FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Ohio (WCMH) — Tragedy splits a Fairfield County family apart, leaving a father dead and a mother charged with his death.
Angela Luke, who works for Pickerington Local Schools, is accused of running her husband Daniel over on Saturday. Their 12-year-old daughter called 911 before Daniel was killed, and told the dispatcher he was hurting Angela.
“My dad’s hurting my mom,” the child told the dispatcher in a frightening 911 call. “He’s pinning her to the ground. . .He’s making marks on my mom.”
Angela and her two children were allegedly trying to run away from Daniel, who the child said had been drinking.
The 12-year-old told the dispatcher that her father was holding on to the car before falling off and getting run over.
Angela Luke will be charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and reckless homicide, and faces a maximum of 3 years in prison for each felony she faces.
She has been suspended from her teaching job at Pickerington Local Schools without pay until her case is resolved. Her next court appearance is October 16.
One victims’ advocate is asking why this fleeing mother would be charged for acting in self defense.
Ohio Domestic Violence Network Executive Director Nancy Neylon says, “One of the things that it does tell victims if you escape or try to defend yourself in any way it could be that you end up being the one being charged. That’s the message it sends.
“I think to me it would have a chilling effect on who you are going to reach out to for help,” Neylon added. “Yet, reaching out to someone could very well save your life and the life of your children.”
Statistics show 4 in 5 women are somewhat or extremely afraid to call police about domestic violence. Seventy percent feared it could make things worse with the offender getting a slap on the wrist or have negative consequences for the victim, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
“It’s going to be difficult for other victims who are in those situations to look at that and think what move do I make,” Neylon said. “How can I guarantee my safety and my children’s safety? Look what happened to this family.”
NBC4 asked the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office and Prosecutor’s Office if charges filed against Angela Luke will discourage other victim’s from leaving their abusers in the future.
“We certainly hope not,” said Sheriff Dave Phalen. “We as an organization have been an advocate for domestic violence victims. It’s our policy on domestic violence calls to arrest the perpetrator.”
Fairfield County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Jeff Hunter adds, “We do not believe the way this case has been handled so far or in the future will hinder victims of domestic violence from coming forward. We think by the end of the investigation more domestic violence victims will be encouraged to come forward.”