Drunk driver sentenced to prison

NILES — An area resident is headed to prison on drunk driving charges after being sentenced Monday in Berrien County Court.

Matthew James Yech, 32, of Stevensville, pleaded guilty to third-offense drunk driving and was sentenced to 20 months to five years in prison. He has credit for four days served and must pay $1,758 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred Feb. 6 on Red Bud Trail in Buchanan Township and involved a crash.

Berrien County Trial Judge Sterling Schrock told Yech he was inconsistent to say that he can take care of his drinking problem but also that he needs help.

“This is your fourth or fifth conviction,” the judge said. “You haven’t changed your impulsive decision-making, and you’re exercising poor judgment. You wouldn’t be here today except for your decision to get behind the wheel. You probably did this [got behind the wheel drunk] hundreds of times and put people’s lives at risk.”

“You’ve demonstrated your inability to show good judgment,” he added. “You say you can take care of this and do it on your own, but you have not taken advantage of the tools you’ve been given. Your decision-making demonstrates that you’re a risk to the public.”

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