Court docs reveal details of hit-and-run that killed Gloria San Miguel

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As the cities of Newport and Covington prepare to approve an agreement to create a Bicycle Transportation Plan with Tri-State Trails at Tuesday night’s Covington caucus meeting, court documents reveal more details about the investigation into the August death of Gloria San Miguel.

Work to make Covington more pedestrian and bike friendly has been underway since August 2022, when San Miguel was hit and killed while riding her bike across the 11th street bridge that connects Covington and Newport.

Mark Phipps, who has been charged in San Miguel’s death, has been at the Campbell County Detention Center since Aug. 25, 2022. Phipps’ attorneys filed a motion to reduce bond last year after it was set at $500,000.

The response, filed by Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael C. Zimmerman, which requests a denial of the motion to reduce bond, said Phipps admitted to police that he was drunk when he struck and killed San Miguel.

“Police first located the Defendant’s uncle, who admitted to being a passenger in the vehicle at the time the Defendant struck Ms. San Miguel on the bridge,” the response reads. “While interviewing the uncle, the Defendant showed up to the police station. During the interview with the Defendant, the Defendant admitted that he drove the vehicle that night, that he struck Ms. San Miguel, and that he was drunk when he did it.”

A few days after the incident, court records say, investigators located the vehicle they believe struck San Miguel parked in Cincinnati. The owner of the residence showed Newport Police Ring doorbell footage showing Phipps standing at the front door of the residence asking the owner for permission to park the vehicle there, police said. This occurred, according to court records, Aug. 21, 2022, just 24 hours after San Miguel was struck and killed.

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“The Commonwealth need not point out how troubling the above facts are or how
devastating the consequences have been,” Zimmerman’s response reads.

Phipps, Zimmerman wrote, was charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence on July 29, 2022, making him legally prohibited from operating a vehicle at the time he struck San Miguel.

“Regardless of his other illegal behavior that night, the Defendant should have never been behind the wheel of a car on August 20th,” Zimmerman wrote.

The response goes on to detail felonies Phipps has been convicted of in the past, including Inflicting Corporal Injury on a Spouse, Threatening a Crime with the Intent to Terrorize, and Felony Possession of a Firearm out of California.

“It is evident that this defendant is a danger to the community,” Zimmerman wrote. “The callous disregard for human life in leaving someone to die after striking that person with a vehicle and the cowardly attempt to hide it is evidence enough of that.”

Phipps is scheduled to be back in court on Feb. 13 for a pretrial conference.

As for Tuesday night’s meeting, Devou Good Foundation President Matt Butler is encouraging people to come to the meeting to give public comment, but public comment is not allowed during caucus meetings. The public can speak at next week’s commission meeting, scheduled for Tuesday of next week at 6 p.m.

“Tri-State Trails, Cities of Newport and Covington, KYTC, and Devou Good Foundation are working with an outside engineering firm to repurpose one drive lane of the bridge to a physically protected two-way bike lane,” Butler said in an email sent Tuesday encouraging people to attend the meeting. “In addition, Devou Good is proposing to fund the creation of a bike plan for Newport and Covington.”

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