Chesterton Tribune

Man sentenced to prison for fatal OWI accident

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A Union Township man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to operating while intoxicated-causing death in connection with a fatal crash last year in Porter Township, the Porter County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office said.

Eugene Raber, 48, with a listed address of 319W 600N, was sentenced on Friday to 15 years in the Indiana Department of Correction (DOC) with three suspended, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Andrew Bennett told the Chesterton Tribune today.

Raber will serve the three suspended years on formal probation after his release from DOC.

Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper also suspended Raber’s license for five years and ordered him to make restitution to his victim’s family while on probation, in equal monthly installments to be determined by Victim’s Assistance, Bennett said.

Restitution was ordered for the family’s burial expenses.

Raber agreed in June to plead guilty to the most serious of the charges against him—OWI-causing death while being 21 or older and with a blood alcohol content over .15 percent, a Class B felony punishable by a term of six to 20 years—in a plead-and-argue deal which capped his actual prison time at 14 years.

Bennett noted that he had sought a maximum sentence under that agreement of 18 years with four suspended.

Under state law, all lesser and included charges against Raber—which included four Class C felonies and four Class D felonies—were dismissed after his plea to the most serious charge.

Raber will be eligible for release from DOC after serving half the term, or six years.

According to the Porter County Sheriff’s Police, at 7:50 p.m. May 3, 2009, Raber was westbound on 350S on a 2001 Suzuki motorcycle, approaching Porter/Lake County Line Road, when he lost control and struck a guardrail at the T-intersection.

Raber and his passenger, Laura Walker, 42, of Portage, were both thrown from the motorcycle.

Walker died at the scene, while Raber was treated at Loyola University Hospital in Chicago for multiple head injuries, a broken collar bone, broken ribs, and a punctured lung.

Police said that Raber registered a blood alcohol content of .139 serum value and also tested positive for cocaine and marijuana metabolites.

 

Posted 7/26/2010