Indiana Man Convicted in 2012 DUI Crash that Left Police Officer Paralyzed Arrested for OWI Again

Over the July 4th holiday weekend, a 29-year-old Pendleton, Indiana man was arrested for operating while intoxicated. According to the Indy Star, Jerrel Watkins was booked into the Madison County Jail following his arrest. Watkins was convicted of an incident in 2012 in which he was driving drunk when he caused a crash that left an on-duty police officer paralyzed. 

Watkins pleaded guilty to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated causing serious bodily injury in the incident in which a test revealed that his BAC (blood alcohol concentration) was 0.29% at the time of the crash. This is more than three times the legal limit of 0.08% in most states across the U.S.

The crash, which occurred on June 11 of 2012, took place when Santos Cortez was responding to a report of a hit-and-run and was struck while enroute by Watkins, who was trying to flee. Cortez’ patrol car struck a pickup truck before he was thrown out the front passenger side window, according to court documents. Watkins was sentenced in February of last year to three years in prison along with six months of community service. He was also convicted of public intoxication and criminal mischief earlier this year.

News reports do not indicate the charges Watkins faces in this latest DUI incident, however Michigan DUI attorneys know that the charges are likely serious, considering the defendant’s past issues with driving under the influence, and the fact that he left a police officer paralyzed.

All drunk driving offenses are serious, whether an individual is arrested for the first time, third time, or even more. DUI is a crime that results in serious criminal penalties and potential loss of freedom. In the state of Michigan, an individual convicted of OUIL causing serious bodily injury will likely face up to five years in prison and fines of as much as $5,000. Even when no one else is injured, a DUI conviction can result in jail/prison time, fines, driver’s license suspension or revocation, community service, possible vehicle impoundment, and more depending on the offense.

Regardless of your situation, if you have been arrested for operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, consult with a skilled and aggressive Michigan DUI defense lawyer at once.

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