Man sent to jail for drunk driving

CASSOPOLIS – A Dowagiac man with a long history of drinking and driving was sentenced to probation and jail in Cass County Circuit Court Friday.

Roy Edward Clark, 59, of Twin Lakes Road in Dowagiac, pleaded guilty to third-offense operating while intoxicated/impaired or under the influence of a controlled substance and was sentenced to three years Swift and Sure probation, 120 days jail, and $2,193 in fines, costs and restitution.

Clark has credit for 15 days already served and will serve the bulk of his sentenced at the Twin County Probation Center. His license was revoked.

The incident occurred Dec. 3, 2017, at Marcellus Highway and Flanders Street near Dowagiac. Police responded to a rollover accident where Clark’s vehicle collided with another at that location.

Clark was taken to the hospital where he became belligerent before passing out. His blood alcohol level was found to be .30, nearly four times the legal limit. He also had marijuana in his system.

Cass Circuit Judge Mark Herman noted that this was Clark’s 15th alcohol-related conviction and his third felony drunk driving conviction.

“It’s amazing that you don’t think you have an alcohol problem,” Herman said.

“He’s in clear denial,” Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Hubbert said. “It’s fortunate he’s alive and no one else was hurt. He is a danger to the community.”

Defense attorney Jim Miller said that Clark is prepared to tackle his alcohol problem after a long history of alcohol abuse.

“Things started getting me down, and I started drinking,” Clark said. “I need to talk to someone rather than drowning my sorrows.”

In other sentencings, three area residents were sentenced on drug-related charges.

• Kyle Wayne Friske, 25, of Morton Street in Dowagiac, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana. He was sentenced to two years probation, credit for 105 days already served and $1,848 for the meth charge and $50 for the marijuana charge.

The incident occurred Jan. 23, 2018, in the 24000 block of Morton Street in Dowagiac. A search of Friske’s residence found drugs and drug paraphernalia.

• Joey Thomas Martin, Jr., 39, of North Shore Drive in Edwardsburg, was found guilty of possession of marijuana and resisting and obstructing police as a habitual offender at a Dec. 5 trial. He was sentenced to 365 days in jail with credit for 203 days served for resisting and obstructing. He was given credit for time served on the marijuana charge. He must pay $1,548.

The incident occurred June 22 at a location on M-62 in Edwardsburg. Police responded to the scene of a fire and tried to talk to Martin. He left on a motorcycle for a short time.

“You obviously have an addiction issue. Hopefully, it can be addressed in jail,” Judge Herman said to Martin Friday. “Either you take care of it, or you’ll spend more time before me.”

• Matthew Ray Smith, 39, of East Railroad Street in Dowagiac, pleaded guilty to possession of meth as a habitual offender and was sentenced to two years probation in the adult treatment court. He must complete the Twin County Probation Center program. He has credit for time served, 112 days, and must pay $1,788 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred June 9, 2018, near East Railroad and East Division streets in Dowagiac when police found him in possession of meth. Judge Herman noted that Smith faces a prison sentence if he fails to complete his probation successfully.

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