Man sentenced for disorderly conduct

Published 8:52 am Monday, March 17, 2014

An Edwardsburg man who led police on a high-speed chase all the way through Elkhart was sentenced to two years probation on Friday in Cass County Court.

Mark Leahy

Mark Leahy

Circuit Judge Michael Dodge delivered the sentence to Mark Edward Leahy, 47, for multiple charges, including fleeing a police officer, assault with a dangerous weapon and operating under the influence. Leahy has already served 9 months in Indiana prison for the crime, where he was arrested and prosecuted.

The incident occurred on Jan. 29, 2013, when an Edwardsburg police officer located Leahy in an Edwardsburg McDonald’s parking lot. Police had been attempting to locate Leahy to investigate a domestic compliant filed against him.

Upon making contact with the officer, Leahy denied his own identity. When the officer attempted to open the door of his vehicle, the Edwardsburg man fled from the location, knocking over the police officer and clipping the vehicle of another officer. From there, police chased him down the highway into Elkhart, where he was apprehended after crashing his vehicle

“This is an aggravated situation that would normally require a sentence at the high end of the guideline range,” Dodge said. “You jeopardized the lives of two officers right there in the parking lot at McDonald’s, not to mention other people could have been hurt there as well. And in a high-speed chase, you never know what kind of disaster can befall people involved in one of those.”

Leahy’s probation sentence is the result of a plea agreement he made with Cass County Prosecutor’s Office. As part of his deal, he will enter into the state’s Swift and Sure probation program, which imposes heavy sanctions for high-risk offenders.

“On the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, Mr. Leahy should thank his lucky charms that this program exists,” Prosecutor Victor Fitz said. “He doesn’t deserve it, and he’s not entitled to it, but he sure better take advantage of it.”

According to the court, Leahy was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident.

“I’ve been drinking pretty much my entire adult life expect for the almost 12 years I was sober,” Leahy said. “This time I let it get out of control on me. Why I started drinking again, I don’t know. But I don’t want to anymore.”

Also sentenced Friday:

• Neal Christopher Means, 30, of Dowagiac, to 18 months probation for the manufacture of 20 or more marijuana plants.

• Sammy Lee Bainbridge, 47, of Jones, to two years probation for operating while intoxicated.

• Matthew Carl Prak, 29, of Dowagiac, to 18 months probation for possession of synthetic marijuana.

• George Jesse Bowman, 52, of Cassopolis, to 18 months probation for resisting and obstructing an officer.

• Nathan Howard Osban, 49, of Niles, to two years probation for operating while intoxicated.