AP NEWS

Man sentenced for DUI crash that injured other motorist

February 21, 2019

A Beatrice man was sentenced to probation for causing a crash last April while driving under the influence.

Jerrod N. Hamm, 31, was sentenced in Gage County District Court to spend four years on probation for driving under the influence and causing serious bodily injury, a class 3A felony. District Court Judge Rick Schreiner also revoked Hamm’s license for two years, and stipulated that he will not be eligible for an ignition interlock device.

Defense attorney Korey Reiman asked the court to consider that Hamm has three children who live in other towns who he visits bimonthly.

“I think Mr. Hamm is well aware, a DUI sounds harmless when you get your first, but that’s why we have these DUIs laws, because stuff like this happens,” Reiman said. “You don’t mean to harm somebody, but this is what happens. That’s why we have laws. Based upon his lack of criminal record and rehabilitative efforts he’s made I’d ask for a sentence of probation.”

Three additional charges, reckless driving, DUI with an alcohol level over .15 and an open container violation were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

Gage County Chief Deputy Attorney Amanda Spracklen-Hogan agreed to recommend probation as part of the plea agreement that dismissed the additional charges, but asked the court to consider the seriousness of the crash, and what worse outcomes could have happened.

“I think it’s just important to note that Mr. Hamm has a history of alcohol abuse,” she said. “We were fortunate that these events didn’t lead to more than just serious bodily injury and I would ask the court to take that into consideration.”

Schreiner agreed, saying Hamm’s actions put the public at risk.

“I appreciate your fear that you may not see your kids, and that fear is real if you continue down the path you’re on, but there are innocent people just going about their business and you put them at risk of not seeing their families,” he told Hamm. “That fear you may not see your kids is a pretty selfish statement overall so now comes the time when you have to start thinking about others and how your actions affect them.”

The crash occurred on April 15, 2018 at West Court and Sumner streets.

Hamm was driving a pickup truck that collided with a van at around 10:30 p.m.

The van had five passengers, two adults and three children. Both adults were injured in the crash, one sustaining a fractured neck and other internal injuries. One of the children had lacerations to the face as a result of the crash.

Arrest documents state Beatrice police observed beer bottles on the ground near and inside the pickup. Hamm was still in the truck when police arrived and told the officer he was drunk. Court documents state police could smell alcohol in the vehicle.

A witness said Hamm was driving south on Sumner Street and didn’t stop at a stop sign before hitting the westbound van.

He was given a breath test that revealed an alcohol level of .192, more than twice the legal driving limit of intoxication.

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