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Charges dropped, mom gets job back in husband’s killing

Mitch Stacy, Associated Press

Columbus, Ohio — A second-grade teacher accused of killing her husband by striking him with her car while their two children watched in horror got her job back Thursday after charges against her were dropped and the school superintendent listened to a harrowing 911 call from their daughter.

Angela Luke, 40, was suspended after being charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and reckless homicide in the death of 42-year-old Daniel Luke on Sunday night. A 911 call made by their tearful 12-year-old daughter who was in the car describes them trying to get away from her violent father and him falling off the car as they were driving away.

“Get off my mother! He’s choking my mom! Get off!” the girl screams at her dad before she and her 9-year-old sister get in the car with their mother and try to leave.

Pickerington Local School District, the suburban Columbus system where Angela Luke teaches, reinstated her after its superintendent, Valerie Browning-Thompson, listened to a recording of the 911 call on Wednesday, according to district spokesman David Ball.

“It’s compelling enough that it allowed the superintendent to make a decision that she thought was the right decision for Mrs. Luke and the district,” Ball said.

The county grand jury could still indict Angela Luke. Fairfield County Sheriff Dave Phalen declined to comment except to say the investigation was continuing. Prosecutors also declined to comment.

Angela Luke’s attorney, Jonathan Tyack, said his client was encouraged by the decision to drop the charges. He said prosecutors are deciding whether to take the case to a grand jury.

“The case isn’t over obviously, but that’s a step in the right direction for sure,” Tyack said. “My hope is that (the prosecutor) will review the case and conclude that Angela committed no crime here.”

The 17-minute call reflects the girl’s panic as she screams at her father and implores the dispatcher to send someone to the house. She said Daniel Luke had been drinking.

“Go fast, Mommy, go fast,” she tells her mother. Then she screams: “Oh, my God, he’s dead! He was hanging onto the car, and he fell off. My father’s dead! He was holding onto the window and he fell right off. He’s bleeding really bad.”

A neighbor who comes out tells the dispatcher that Daniel Luke was bleeding badly from the ear.