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Man charged in deadly crash released from jail for weekend; family of victims protests

Published: Sep. 3, 2021 at 11:12 PM EDT
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PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) - Family members of a husband and wife whose lives were taken nearly a year ago protested Friday evening at the Scioto County Jail, livid over a decision from the justice system they say is insulting.

On Sept. 5, 2020, the Ohio State Highway Patrol says Arnold Queen was driving impaired on state Route 140, around the South Webster area, when he crossed a center line and crashed head-on into a motorcycle, killing Steven and Lorena Cahal, who were from South Point.

Michelle Black is the Cahals’ daughter-in-law.

“They were inseparable,” Black said.

Queen, who’s from Wheelersburg, had been held in the Scioto County Jail since that crash.

According to court records, he changed his plea Wednesday to guilty, and a judge granted Queen a conditional release from 6 p.m. Friday through 8:30 a.m. Monday. A family member was required to pick him up and drop him off. Court documents say he’ll be able to spend the weekend with his four children.

The family says they were told he is getting the weekend out of jail to get his affairs in order.

“It feels very unfair,” Black said. “My daughter cries almost every day, and my son won’t talk about it, because they never get to see or talk to their Nana and Papa ever again, but he can do this and still get to talk to his family.”

The Scioto County prosecutor says it’s not uncommon for an inmate to get a temporary release like this when they’re not considered a flight risk.

“It’s a slap in the face, especially on the weekend that he killed two people,” Steven’s mother Sue Cahal said. “Why should he be out?”

The one-year anniversary of the fatal crash is Sunday.

Family members say it’s disgraceful the man responsible for taking the lives of their loved ones gets to spend it anywhere but jail.

Family seeks justice after loved ones killed in drunk-driving accident

Relatives of the victims had multiple exits of the jail staked out at Queen’s scheduled release time Friday, but he managed to leave without the Cahals’ relatives ever seeing him.

Queen is ordered to remain at a designated location with a family member this weekend. He’s ordered not to use drugs or alcohol during his release.

He’ll also have to wear a GPS electronic monitor.

Queen’s sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 24.

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