VAN BUREN, ARKANSAS -- A New Jersey man will serve six months in the Crawford County jail and pay $85,000 restitution after he pleaded guilty Friday to driving drunk and killing an 84-year-old woman trying to cross a highway.
Michael Victor Kenask, 35, of Holmdel, N.J., pleaded guilty to negligent homicide, a felony, and first-offense driving while intoxicated, an unclassified misdemeanor, before Crawford County Circuit Judge Mike Medlock. The full article can be read here:
According to the information provided, a negotiated plea between Kenask and the prosecuting attorney's office gave Kenask a suspended 10-year sentence and $65,000 in the restitution to the victim's family. $65,000 will, of course, bring no peace to the victim or her family.
The remaining $20,000 restitution, a $1,000 fine and $320 booking fee will be paid off at $600 a month beginning 30 days after Friday. Prosecuting Attorney Marc McCune announced in court that the family of the victim, Wilma Delores Glass, was aware of the plea agreement and approved. Kenask was ordered to surrender at the county jail Sept. 11 to begin serving his sentence, McCune said.
Court records showed that a relative of Glass, Tina Fitzgerald, filed a wrongful death suit in circuit court against Kenask a week after Glass' death. The records showed the case was dismissed Feb. 22 after a settlement was reached.
He was accused of hitting and killing Glass with his vehicle as she crossed U.S. 64 in Van Buren. Glass was using a walker when she was struck about 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11. She died at the scene.
Reports from local media indicated that Kenask told police he had driven into Van Buren and was looking for a hotel where he could spend the night and didn't see Glass crossing in front of him. He told police he was moving from Oregon to New Jersey. Officers at the scene smelled intoxicants on Kenask, and he admitted he'd had a couple of drinks when he stopped for lunch in Oklahoma City.
A blood alcohol test conducted at the county jail showed he had a blood alcohol content of 0.14 percent. A driver with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or greater is considered intoxicated in Arkansas. Such is the risk of drinking and driving.
What are the penalties or results for a DUI/DWI in New Jersey? The legal and financial penalties can be reviewed here: http://www.state.nj.us/mvc/Violations/dui.htm
On a related note - if you are planning a party, read up on the New Jersey Issue on Host Liability: New Jersey's statute holds social hosts liable for third-party injuries caused by a guest who is "visibly intoxicated" where "the injuries are the result of negligent operation of a vehicle by the guest." New Jersey courts have held that "provide" includes self-service by guests. helpful information can be found here: http://injury.findlaw.com/accident-injury-law/social-host-liability.html