South Bend man gets prison for drunk driving

Published 2:30 pm Monday, September 13, 2021

NILES — In Berrien County Trial Court Monday, a South Bend man is going to prison for third offense drunk driving.

Terrence Lamont Malone, 33, of South Bend, pleaded guilty to third offense drunk driving and was sentenced to 14 months to five years in prison. He has credit for four days served and must pay $258 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred June 29 at Portage and Bertrand Roads in Bertrand Township. Malone hit one car, hurting the driver, and then left the scene after which time he hit mailboxes.

Malone has four prior drunk driving convictions in Indiana.

Malone apologized for his actions and said he would accept the consequences. He did note that he now has a job in Elkhart.

“Here’s what your problem is, your last conviction in Indiana resulted in a prison sentence and you were on parole when you did this,” Judge Schrock said. “I don’t know any other way to deal with this to protect the community. It’s tragic that you finally got a good job and are getting your life on track.”

In another sentencing, Berrien Springs man was sentenced to probation for assault with intent to commit second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

David Bett, 56, of Scherr Road in Berrien Springs, pleaded guilty to assault with intent to commit second-degree criminal sexual conduct and was sentenced to five years’ probation, credit for two days served, 180 days tether, registry as a sex offender and $1,058 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred June 10, 2020, in Berrien Township. A charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct was dismissed.

Assistant Prosecutor Kate Arnold said that it was a very difficult situation with a lot of resentment built up between the victim and her family and the defendant and his family.

“They are having a difficult time moving forward,” she said.

Bett’s attorney said his client has remorse for what happened and took responsibility immediately, cooperating with police and the prosecutor’s office.

“He prays and hopes that one day the families will heal,” Joseph Fletcher said. “He knows he let a whole lot of people down besides himself.”

“He’s beat himself up on this,” he added. “This temporary lapse of judgment has had a deep and long-lasting impact.”

“This does not strike me as a circumstance of impulsive behavior, it’s something you contemplated for a while,” Judge Schrock said.

The judge said he was constrained by recent changes in the law which does not allow him to impose more incarceration unless he can find a reason to deviate from the guidelines.

In other sentences:

  • Benjamin Michael Rohl, 33, of Fulkerson Road, Niles, pleaded guilty to improper possession of a firearm in a motor vehicle and was sentenced to pay $625 in fines and costs. The incident occurred April 30 in Bertrand Township.
  • Tyler Paul Robles, 26, of Bond Street in Niles, pleaded guilty to assault or assault and battery and was sentenced to one-year probation, credit for one day served, 90 days electronic monitoring and $525. The incident occurred Dec. 30 in Niles.
  • Bradley Alan Phillips, 49, of James Street, pleaded guilty to attempted resisting and obstructing police and domestic violence and was sentenced to 18 months’ probation, credit for four days served, $685 in fines and costs. The incident occurred March 2 in Niles Township.
  • Isaiah Thomas, 29, of Benton Harbor, pleaded guilty to carrying a concealed weapon and was sentenced to two years’ probation, credit for one day served and $658 in fines and costs. The incident occurred Jan. 3 in Niles.