Cassopolis woman jailed for injuring deputy in accident

Published 10:01 am Monday, June 15, 2015

A Cassopolis woman will be spending the next several months in jail after injuring a Cass County deputy in a drunken automobile accident.

Judge Michael Dodge sentenced Angel Kaitlynn Leiting, 18, to 270 days in jail and five years of probation Friday morning during a hearing at the Cass County courthouse in Cassopolis, on charges of operating while intoxicated causing serious injury, operating a vehicle without a license, and possessing an open container of alcohol while driving. Leiting pleaded no contest to these crimes back on March 23.

Angel Kaitlynn Leiting

Angel Kaitlynn Leiting

The charges stem from Leiting’s actions on Nov. 1, 2014, when she was driving a vehicle without a valid driver’s license. During the course of her drive, she ran into a Cass County Sheriff’s Office squad car near the intersection of Brownsville and Calvin Center, injuring the officer inside, Jason Pompey.

When officers with the Michigan State Police arrived to investigate the collision, they found Leiting at the scene, with her passengers fleeing before the authorities’ arrival. After police discovered an open container of alcohol inside her vehicle, the Cassopolis woman admitted she had been drinking, with a preliminary breath test showing that he had a .09 blood-alcohol level at the time of the collision.

“You were above the legal limit of .08,” Dodge said. “Obviously you shouldn’t have been driving, and you didn’t have a license either.”

As a result of the collision, the victim received serious injury to his neck, with doctors diagnosing a number of herniated discs. As a result, Pompey had to spend six months in rehabilitation before coming back to the force, albeit in a more limited capacity, Dodge said.

Though the officer was present in the courtroom that morning, he declined to speak to the court. Chief Assistant Prosecutor Frank Machnik did read excerpts from his victim impact statement, though, describing his condition.

“I will never completely heal or recover from this injury,” Machnik said, quoting part of Pompey’s testimony. “They [doctors] have limited certain activities to still not being able to do, and to being cautious of the future, such as swimming, scuba diving or anything that may cause compression of my neck.”

While acknowledging her difficulties growing up with an incarcerated father, the prosecutor agreed with the department of correction’s recommendation for five years of probation for Leiting’s crimes, the maximum allowed by law.

“Her actions have demonstrated that she needs that kind of supervision,” Machnik said. “Hopefully she can get the issues that she has in her life under control under some form of supervision.”

Before receiving her sentence, Leiting apologized to Pompey for the pain she has caused him, as well as the court and to her family.

Leiting was given 52 days credit for time already served.

Also sentenced Friday:

• Bret Daniel Underwood, 35, of Dowagiac, to 18 months of probation for larceny in a building.

• Angela Jean Parquette, 34, of Niles, to 120 days in jail for larceny in a building.