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Drunk Driving Defendants Get No Sympathy in Court

— February 28, 2020

Driving while intoxicated will not be tolerated in these Detroit and Toledo courts.

James Gird, 57, appeared in at his hearing in Shelby Township, Michigan, District Court with a blood alcohol level that was nearly four times the legal limit, the office said in a news release.  Police determined he had serious issues with drunk driving and had actually consumed alcohol on the way to his hearing, meaning.  What’s worse, this wasn’t the first time.

Gird was in court for a hearing regarding a drunk driving charge from late last year, and now is facing an additional charge of operating “with a high blood alcohol content,” according to the release.  Magistrate James VerPloeg was the first to notice Gird was acting “off” and requested a blood alcohol test.  The defendant was reportedly slurring his speech and had failed the field sobriety tests administered first.  Gird admitted to having a “couple” shots when confronted, and a partly empty vodka bottle was discovered in his vehicle.

“Clearly this defendant has a real issue with alcohol, and it must be addressed before an innocent person is seriously harmed,” Prosecutor Eric Smith said. “We will hold those who drink and drive accountable, whether it is on our roads or even in a court parking lot.”  Gird was arraigned and a bond was set at $25,000 cash or surety.

Drunk Driving Defendants Get No Sympathy in Court
Photo by Wil Stewart on Unsplash

Meanwhile, in a Lucas County Common Pleas Court in Ohio, a judge said viewing video footage of defendant Austin Kekes, 26, driving drunk at nearly 100 mph and crashing his car, leaving his best friend in critical condition was “justification enough for issuing a maximum sentence.”

Kekes was intoxicated when he chose to drive drunk with his best friend, Ryan Benham, in the passenger seat beside him, getting into an accident at a high rate of speed and severing the vehicle in half.  Benham was automatically ejected and suffered significant head trauma.  Kekes refused to identify his best friend at the hospital, and Democratic Judge Gary Cook called “Kekes’ actions following the crash almost even more appalling.”  He added, “The shocking part is watching you stand up out of that, look around the car…and then take off across the street.  And then come back, go to the car — what’s left of it — and go back across the street.”

Cook sentenced him to the maximum term of five years in prison and suspended his driver’s license for ten years.  Defense attorney Stephen Hartman said his client intends to appeal the sentence.

Kekes “escaped this accident with a scratch on his face,” Benham’s mother, Lori Ansted said in court.  She added, at the same time her son will likely have to endure ongoing, costly medical care.  “I could have been at the hospital by 3 a.m., Ryan was there at 2:48, if Austin would have said, ‘This is his mom’s number.  His name is Ryan Benham.  He’s my best friend.’  But he didn’t.  No signs of remorse whatsoever,” Ansted said.

“Everybody wants to give you the benefit of the doubt,” Judge Cook continued, “But there’s no acceptance and there never will be.  The facts of what you did, you’re going to have to grow into and you’re going to have to deal with…The part no one can get around is the absolute destruction that it had on Ryan’s life.  I understand you understand that to a certain extent, but there are just some things that are never going to be accepted.”


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