A Zanesville man responsible for a fatal hit-skip accident pled guilty to a prosecutor's bill of information in Muskingum County Common Pleas Court.

Ron Welch
Muskingum County Prosecutor


Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Zanesville Drug Addict Who Caused Fatal Motorcycle Accident Pleads Guilty, Sentenced to Prison

A Zanesville man responsible for a fatal hit-skip accident pled guilty to a prosecutor’s bill of information Tuesday in Muskingum County Common Pleas Court.

Colt C. Lightfoot, age 45, of Zanesville pled guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide, grand theft of a motor vehicle, grand theft, burglary, receiving stolen property, and breaking and entering.

After Judge Mark C. Fleegle read a statement from the victim’s wife forgiving Lightfoot and asking him to turn his life around, Judge Fleegle sentenced him to at least 15 years in prison and a lifetime driver’s license suspension.

On May 13, Lightfoot was driving a stolen vehicle on U.S. Highway 40, and hit a motorcyclist, Zanesville resident Gary Frey, age 71, after failing to yield to traffic when attempting to make a left turn. After hitting Frey and leaving him on the highway, Lightfoot sped away from the scene of the accident.

Frey, a schoolteacher for more than 40 years, was treated by emergency medical first responders and quickly transported to the hospital. Frey died from his injuries at the hospital.

Law enforcement investigators obtained video footage of the incident from a nearby business. Debris from the vehicle Lightfoot was driving was located, and eyewitnesses were interviewed, ultimately allowing investigators to narrow the search for the vehicle.

On May 14, law enforcement received a tip regarding the location of the vehicle. Investigators found the vehicle and interviewed the owner of the property where it was found. The property owner claimed that Lightfoot usually drives the vehicle, which was later determined to be stolen.

On May 15, investigators searched the truck, finding extensive evidence that the truck was the one involved in the May 13 collision.

Gary Frey’s wife offered forgiveness but asked that Lightfoot change his life.

“My husband, Gary Frey, lived his life in service to others. […] He was always willing to help anyone who needed him without question. Gary was a man of love and compassion. I know without a doubt that he would forgive you for what you have done, and I forgive you also.

“But there is one thing that I hope can happen as a result of this terrible tragedy: you, Colton Lightfoot, turn your life around. Make choices that bring no harm to another person including yourself. If you can do that, you will be one more person that Gary can help in this world.”

Muskingum County Prosecuting Attorney Ron Welch says Frey was loved by many people in the community, and he will be missed.

“First, my office offers its condolences to the family of Mr. Frey,” Prosecutor Welch said. “The positive impact he had on so many in our community will not be forgotten.”

Prosecutor Welch credits the hard work of law enforcement investigators for quickly bringing Lightfoot to justice.

“Colt Lightfoot was quickly brought to justice due to the phenomenal effort of local law enforcement,” Prosecutor Welch said. “This defendant had several cases being investigated by multiple law enforcement agencies. The Muskingum County Sheriff's Office, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Zanesville Police Department, and the South Zanesville Police Department worked together with our office to develop a plan of investigation resulting in these cases being solved and the defendant being sentenced to 15 years in prison.”

Prosecutor Welch says the mission of his office is obtaining justice for victims and making Muskingum County safer for everyone.

“Law enforcement and our office will continue aggressively pursuing criminals while seeking sentences that are meaningful to the victims and the community, with the goal of making Muskingum County a safer place to live,” Prosecutor Welch said.

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Zanesville Drug Addict Who Caused Fatal Motorcycle Accident Pleads Guilty, Sentenced to Prison