Chesterton Tribune

Woman sentenced to home detention in fatal OWI crash

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A Westville woman who police say was intoxicated when she crashed her car in June 2008 in Pine Township, in an accident which killed her passenger, was sentenced to five years on Friday.

Alysha M. Ramos, 19--who was 17 at the time of the accident but was subsequently waived into adult court--was sentenced to three years of home detention and an additional two years on formal probation by Porter Superior Court Judge Bill Alexa, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Andrew Bennett told the Chesterton Tribune today.

Alexa’s sentence includes credit for Ramos’ 51 days in the Juvenile Detention Center, Bennett said.

Ramos had previously pleaded guilty to the most serious of the charges filed against her: OWI-causing death, a Class C felony punishable by a term of two to eight years.

According to the Porter County Sheriff’s Police, at 5:10 a.m. on Sunday, June 1, 2008, Ramos was westbound on C.R. 1400N, west of C.R. 400E, and had just looked down to close her cell phone after completing a call when her front-seat passenger, Alisha A. Purnick, 17, of Liberty Township, yelled at her to “pay attention to the road.”

Ramos advised police that she looked up to see that she was driving off the roadway. Police said that Ramos then lost control of her vehicle, which left the roadway to the south and struck a tree on the passenger’s front side.

Ramos asked neighbors to call for help, police said, and then flagged down a passing motorist and left the scene. She was later returned to the scene by a family acquaintance. Ramos subsequently registered a blood alcohol content of .16 percent on a certified test, police said.

Purnick was airlifted with head injuries to St. James Hospital and Health Centers in Olympia Fields, Ill, where she died of her injuries on June 8, 2008.

Ramos was waived into adult court in July 2008.

In addition to home detention--during which time Ramos must wear an ankle bracelet and may leave her residence only for court-approved activities and work--Alexa ordered her to participate in a victim impact panel on the dangers of drinking and driving; ordered her to undergo substance abuse counseling and treatment; suspended her license for two years; ordered Ramos to maintain an ignition interlock system in her vehicle after her license suspension expires and for the duration of her formal probation; and ordered Ramos to turn over to Purnick’s mother her own cell phone, which has photos of Purnick on it.

Bennett said that a statement by Purnick’s mother, asking Alexa to sentence Ramos to home detention, was read into the record.

Ramos had originally been charged with a number of lesser and included charges, Bennett said, including reckless homicide and failure to stop after an accident resulting in death. Under the plea agreement those charges were dismissed. Bennett told the Tribune that, under Indiana Code, the state could conceivably have prosecuted Ramos on all lesser and included charges and even obtained a conviction but that the judge could not have imposed a sentence, since--for example--the reckless homicide charge is essentially a component of the OWI-causing death charge.

 

 

Posted 8/17/2009