Man gets jail time for leaving injured passenger at scene of accident

Published 9:34 am Saturday, March 27, 2004

By By NORMA LERNER / Niles Daily News
CASSOPOLIS -- A 21-year-old Dowagiac man who was driving drunk and rolled his vehicle into a creek, left the scene of his accident that could have drowned his passenger.
Osvaldo Trevino of 58063 Sink Road was imposed 240 days in jail during a sentence hearing on Friday in Cass County Circuit Court and received three years of probation for operating a vehicle while under the influence of liquor, causing serious injury. He also received a concurrent 240-day jail term and three years of probation for failing to stop at the scene of an accident, resulting in serious impairment.
Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz said Trevino's action was reckless and selfish. His passenger suffered serious injuries and had to be airlifted to Borgess-Medical Center in Kalamazoo.
Fitz said the creek was four to five-feet deep, and his passenger, Steven Stark, 42, from Dowagiac could have drowned. Instead of helping his passenger get out of the vehicle, he disappeared. "I am asking for significant time. Let this be a message, 'don't drive when you are drunk.' If you hurt someone, help them out," he asserted.
Defense Attorney James Miller said this was Trevino's first contact with the law. He said he has taken responsibility for his conduct.
Judge Michael E. Dodge recounted it was Aug. 9, 2003, when Trevino was driving on Peavine Street in Pokagon Township. He said he was driving without a driver's license and rolled his vehicle into a creek where it became partially submerged with the passenger trapped inside. He said Trevino left the scene and was later apprehended by police. He tested to have a blood alcohol level of .15 percent, well above the legal limit. According to court records, Trevino was first helped out of the automobile by a good Samaritan before he fled.
Trevino was given credit for 13 days served, was ordered to pay a probation supervision fee of $720, $60 to the Crime Victims' fund, $160 in state costs, $800 in costs, a $350 fine and another 90 concurrent days in jail for driving without a license.
Other sentences from Friday are as follows: