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
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.