Lake Superior Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. sentenced a Hobart man to 18 months for causing serious bodily injury while driving drunk in a two-car crash that killed one person.
Lawrence L. Adams, 42, who pleaded guilty May 9 after his jury trial had already begun, admitted he had a blood alcohol level of 0.29 percent, on Nov. 22, 2010, near 56th and Broadway when he crossed the center line into oncoming traffic.
Laurie Smith, 40, a passenger in the other vehicle, was killed.
The other driver, Bannye Toliver, also was intoxicated but was not charged until after Adams had submitted a plea agreement, defense attorney Michael Lambert said. Adams’ trial ended in mistrial.
Lambert sought a split sentence of time served and probation for Adams, a military veteran who saw action in Saudi Arabia and Iraq as a combat medic.
Deputy prosecutor Michelle Jatkiewicz argued for a two-year sentence in light of the fatality and Adams’ blood alcohol level. Indiana law sets a 0.08 percent limit for intoxication.
Adams told the judge he hasn’t had a drink since the crash. “It tore me apart. That solidified that I could not ever pick up a bottle again,” Adams said of the life-changing event.
The judge ordered Adams to serve 90 days in the Indiana Department of Correction, followed by nine months in Lake County Community Corrections. The remainder of the sentence will be served on probation. Adams’ driver’s license will be suspended for six months.