Probation sentence for third offense DUI

Friday, May 17, 2013

McCOOK, Nebraska -- A McCook woman was sentenced to probation after being convicted of a Class IIIA felony for third offense drunk driving, May 6, in Red Willow County District Court. The offender, 44-year-old Penny L. Sullivan of 1409 E. Fairacres Circle, was sentenced to 36 months probation after accepting a plea agreement in March that admitted guilt to the drunk driving charge and dismissed a misdemeanor offense for driving a vehicle with a revoked license.

The charges brought against Sullivan stem from an eventful drive on Oct. 8, 2012, after which she registered a blood alcohol content of .29, more than triple the legal limit.

The McCook Police Department was initially informed that Sullivan's vehicle was driving erratically along J Street, just prior to 7 p.m. A few minutes later another citizen reported nearly being ran over by her vehicle, before a final report was received from a third citizen that her vehicle had struck a fence and a parked vehicle.

Officer's located Sullivan stopped in her vehicle, blocking a nearby alleyway, and subsequently arrested her for third offense DUI and driving with a revoked driver's license.

The 36-month probation sentence that District Court Judge David Urbom sentenced Sullivan to, represents more probation time than the 24-month sentence she received after being convicted of second offense drunk driving in 2010, however, she was not ordered to serve any jail time for her third offense as she was in the previous case.

Sullivan was convicted of drunk driving twice in 2010, in July and December.

The December conviction stemmed from an incident near the intersection of East Second and B Street in which she attempted to flee on foot after a McCook police officer showed her the .365 breathalyzer result she had just blown.

After the officer chased her down she continued to resist arrest while being handcuffed and was subsequently cited with resisting arrest, operating a vehicle without license plates, driving under suspension and DUI .365 second offense.

County Attorney Paul Wood chose not to pursue the resisting arrest and missing plates charges. Wood then dismissed the driving under suspension, as part of a plea agreement in that case that admitted guilt to the second offense DUI charge.

Sullivan was subsequently sentenced to 30 days in jail, 24 months probation and her license was revoked for five years. Her probation was later revoked and she was sentenced to 180 days in jail in September 2011, after violating the court ordered probation on multiple occasions.

Sullivan was also cited for domestic assault in July 2012, however, that charge was pursued as third-degree assault by County Attorney Paul Wood and then dismissed after Sullivan's husband claimed the incident was blown out of proportion and merely the result of a sexual encounter between the two.

The charge against Sullivan was subsequently dismissed by Wood on Nov. 6, 2012.

Chief of Police Isaac Brown commented at the time, domestic disturbance calls frequently result in the reporting and/or injured parties changing their stories after the fact and desiring not to prosecute their intimate partner.

"Unfortunately that often enables the violent party and leads to further and greater violence," said Brown.

Other activity in Red Willow County District Court, May 6, 2013:

* 25-year-old Joseph A. Shepherd of 1404 West 15th Street pleaded guilty to Class III felony burglary stemming from a break-in at Nelseena's Leather Shop in Danbury, Nebraska. Shepherd was scheduled for sentencing at 9 a.m. on July 3, 2013.

* 23-year-old Logan J. Tschacher of 1009 W. Sixth Street admitted to probation violations and was scheduled for sentencing at 11:15 a.m. on June 3, 2013, in Red Willow County District Court. Tschacher's was originally sentenced to 30 months probation in December 2010 after being convicted on two possession of a controlled substance charges, one a Class IV felony and the second a Class I misdemeanor.

Tschacher's probation violations stem from his January 2013 arrest and conviction for shoplifting in McCook.

According to court documents, Tschacher has been recommended to have his probation revoked and receive a jail sentence as a result of the violations. Tschacher has also not made any payments to cover court costs or probation fees since he was ordered to, when originally sentenced to probation in 2010. Tschacher owes $1,078.

* 48-year-old Janet K. Slater of Culbertson, Nebraska, failed to appear for a hearing in the case against her and a bench warrant was issued for her arrest.

Slater pleaded not guilty in January to drunk driving, refusal to submit to a chemical test, felony possession of a controlled substance and a misdemeanor offense of unlawful acts related to drugs. The charges against Slater stem from a Sept. 11, 2012, Nebraska State Patrol arrest at the intersection of U.S. Highway 83 and U.S. Highway 6.

* 21-year-old Toni Hopkins of 906 East E Street failed to appear for a pair of hearings to face probation violations filed against her and the court ordered a bench warrant for her arrest. Hopkins was sentenced to 36 months probation in February stemming from the burglary of a West First Street McCook residence and three unrelated misdemeanor forgery offenses. Hopkins subsequent probation violations stem from failing to report multiple times and testing positive for cannabis, methamphetamine and amphetamine.