MCLEAN CO., Ky (WEHT) A McLean County man is pleading guilty to several charges in a car crash that killed three people this past March.

Dylan Howard, 24, has entered a plea for 3 counts of second-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault, wanton endangerment, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence and trafficking a controlled substance.

According to Kentucky State Police, Howard was driving under the influence on Highway 81 near Calhoun last March. He crossed the center line, sideswiping a dump truck then crashed head-on into another vehicle. Two of Howard’s passengers, Shawna Rodney, 23, and 3-year-old Emberlyn Howard, were killed in the crash. The driver of the other vehicle, Joshua Fox, 35, was also killed.

A $100,000 bond was set in June. If found guilty, he will face 20 years in prison.

“Relief, a little because it’s over,” says Amy Lehman, who lost her granddaughter Shawna Rodney, and great-granddaughter, Emberlyn Howard, in the accident. She says the news is bittersweet, and it allows the families of the three victims to start healing.

“Right now, at least we can start to heal because we haven’t been able to. When you’ve got this everyday going on, and now that it is over, we can all start to heal, hopefully,” she says.

McLean County Commonwealth Attorney Clayton Douglas Adams says the drug related charges stem from fentanyl pills found on him at the scene. Some family members were worried a plea deal would result in Howard being paroled after five years. But state law requires Howard to serve up to half of his sentence on some of the charges.

“I need to see and I need to know in my heart that’s he’s sincere, that he wants to change.” said Lehman.
In a statement, Lindsey Fox, who lost her husband Joshua Fox, said the crash was senseless, tragic for many, and completely avoidable. She says her husband dedicated his life as a pharmacist who strived daily to keep pharmaceuticals out of the wrong hands, & sadly, that’s what took his life.

We also asked Adams about how the plea agreement was reached and concerns from some victims families over concerns about Howard being paroled early, but Adams says he’ll wait to comment on those matters until after the sentencing hearing on December 6th.

(This story was originally published on November 23, 2021)