Woman pleads not guilty to causing crash that killed Youngstown fire battalion chief

ASHTABULA, Ohio (WYTV) – The Northfield woman accused of causing a crash that killed Youngstown Fire Battalion Chief Ronald Russo appeared in an Ashtabula courtroom on Wednesday.

Josephine Palmer pleaded not guilty to failure to yield to a traffic device and vehicular manslaughter. A pretrial was set for December 13, and a $1,250 bond was set.

The 48-year-old woman was driving the van that collided with Russo’s motorcycle in Ashtabula County. 

Russo was heading northbound along State Route 45 when Palmer failed to yield at a stop sign, causing the crash, according to Highway Patrol. Troopers said they could not prove that Palmer was using her phone at the time of the crash, but they do believe she was distracted.

Russo died as a result of his injuries.

It was Palmer’s fourth moving violation in a year, according to the court.