September 22, 2014

Medina
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Granger man apologizes, sentenced for crash that killed 2 teens

MEDINA — A young Granger man apologized for his actions that led to the deaths last year of two fellow teenagers, whose mother offered him forgiveness in juvenile court today.

Jonathan Slifka, 18, was speeding on April 28, 2010, along Wilbur Road in Granger Township and collided with a car driven by Erin Ehrbar, 16. She and her little brother, Andrew Ehrbar, 13, both died as a result of the accident.

Laura Ehrbar and her husband Chris DePiero hold a picture of Ehrbar's children, Erin and Andrew, during the sentencing of Jonathan Slifka, who was involved in the April accident that killed the children. Slifka was sentenced today to three days in jail and indefinite probation. (POOL PHOTO)

Laura Ehrbar and her husband Chris DePiero hold a picture of Ehrbar's children, Erin and Andrew, during the sentencing of Jonathan Slifka, who was involved in the April accident that killed the children. Slifka was sentenced today to three days in jail and indefinite probation. (POOL PHOTO)

“I’m sorry Mrs. Ehrbar for my fault in all this. You’re in my prayers every day, and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about this,” Slifka said in court today to Laura Ehrbar, mother of two siblings who died in the accident last year.

The Ohio Highway Patrol later found both drivers at fault in the accident. Erin Ehrbar failed to yield the right of way and Slifka was speeding, an OHP report said.

Slifka admitted to two counts of vehicular manslaughter last month, and Judge John J. Lohn sentenced him today to three days in jail, which starts April 27.

“This is the day before, the day of and the day after the one year anniversary of this automobile crash,” the judge said.

Slifka will also serve two days of house arest. One-day will be on what would have been Erin Ehrbar’s 18th birthday, May 2, and the other day is what would have been Andrew Ehrbar’s 15th birthday, Aug. 13.

Other punishments for Slifka include indefinite probation, a driver’s license suspension until he turns 21 and a 9:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. curfew. He must also make a presentation about the dangers of speeding to others in the juvenile-court system.

Lohn said the Ehrbar family could also participate in that program if they wanted.

Laura Ehrbar held a picture of her children while she told Slifka of the grief that she went through after losing them. However, she said understood that Slifka also went through anguish after the accident.

“I challenge you to find a way to make a difference in the world and make it a better place, something Erin and Andrew had already done on this short time on earth,” she said.

In addition, she asked that Slifka seek to keep alive Erin’s “bright and playful personality” and Andrew’s “most giving heart.”

“In return we will give you peace and forgiveness because that is what makes the difference and that is what will make this world a better place,” she said.

Contact Maria Kacik Kula at (330) 721-4049 or mkacik@medina-gazette.com.