Chesterton Tribune



Judge: No authority to modify woman's sentence in fatal OWI crash in Porter

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A judge--citing lack of authority--has declined to modify the sentence of the Michigan City woman currently serving a six-year sentence for driving drunk and killing her passenger.

Sandra A. Everly, 56, now in a work-release facility in Indianapolis, had petitioned Porter Superior Court to transfer her to a similar facility in Crown Point, so as to be closer to Michigan City, where her husband is in the final stages of terminal pancreatic cancer.

Among other things, since her sentencing on May 1, 2012, Everly completed a substance abuse program while incarcerated at the Madison Correctional Facility, as well as “every program available to her there,” including the “Getting Motivated to Change” workshop, the “Mothers Against Methamphetamine” course, and a Bible study.

Although Judge Raymond Kickbush, sitting on the bench for Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper, acknowledged Everly’s achievements while in the custody of the Indiana Department of Correction (DOC)-- acknowledged too her “good behavior” and her “strong family support system in Northwest Indiana”--he concluded in his ruling on Wednesday that he “lacks the legal authority to modify” Everly’s sentence.

Kickbush, accordingly, requested--did not order--the DOC to “give serious consideration” to placing Everly in a work-release facility “closer to Michigan City.”

The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, for its part, in noting that Everly has not yet served the minimum sentence of six years for a Class B felony--to which she pleaded guilty--opposed any modification of her sentence, on the ground that doing so “would not be in the best interest of justice.”

According to Porter Police, at 9:40 p.m. Aug. 20, 2010, Everly was westbound on U.S. Highway 20 when she rear-ended a second vehicle at the intersection of Waverly Road. One witness, also westbound on U.S. 20, advised that Everly nearly sideswiped them and had been “moving all over the road,” while another--at the Porter Quick Stop--advised that he did not see brake lights activate on Everly’s vehicle before the crash, police said.

Everly and her passenger, William Hertaus, were both trapped in the vehicle and had to be extricated. Hertaus suffered injuries to his neck and died less than a week later.

Everly registered a blood alcohol content of .27 percent after the crash, more than three times the legal limit.


Posted 11/21/2013




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