Dowagiac woman to serve jail time for driving drunk

NILES — A Dowagiac woman who operated a vehicle with a blood alcohol level that was three times the legal limit while transporting children, will spend time in jail and on a monitoring system for the crime. 

Amanda Ottinger, 39, of the 400 block of West Street, pleaded guilty on Dec. 20, 2017, to operating a vehicle while intoxicated with an occupant under 16. She was sentenced by Berrien County Judge Charles LaSata on Monday and ordered to serve 120 days in jail, with credit for 66 days, 120 days on SCRAM monitoring and two years of probation.

Ottinger will also be required to complete substance abuse treatment.

Amanda Ottinger

The incident leading to Ottinger’s arrest occurred on Dec. 9, 2017, when police were dispatched to a car accident on Keeneland Drive and Hummingbird Lane in Niles. Ottinger had been driving the car with two children as passengers. No one was injured.

Court documents did not reveal what caused the accident, but Ottinger was not the at fault driver. When police spoke with her at the scene, they could smell the alcohol on her breath. She subsequently failed the field sobriety test.

Defense attorney Scott Sanford asked the judge to consider a lesser amount of jail time so that   Ottinger could be released into a treatment program to get help for her addiction.

LaSata agreed that Ottinger needed help and he asked her to take responsibility for the amount of alcohol she consumed.

“You said you had two beers,” LaSata said. “You don’t have that high of a blood alcohol level by only consuming two beers.”

LaSata told Ottinger that he was permitting her another chance by giving her probation in addition to a jail sentence, but he cautioned her of the consequences of violating sentencing guidelines.

“Any violation will likely lead to a prison sentence,” LaSata said. 

Also sentenced Monday:

• Dornisha Monique Wallace, 20, of South Bend, was charged with attempted uttering and publishing, after she cashed a faulty check for $450 at Crocker’s Party Store, 1702 Broadway in Niles on Sept. 23. She was sentenced to 15 days in jail and two years of probation.

• Courtney Buck, 34, of Niles, was charged with attempted assault with a dangerous weapon, after she threatened someone with a gun on Oct. 15, 2014, at 15 S. Third St. in Niles, according to court documents. She was sentenced to one year of probation and 90 days on the Michigan Department of Corrections tether.   

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