Dowagiac man given probation for causing serious injury while driving under the influence

Published 2:36 pm Monday, November 15, 2021

NILES — In a Berrien County drunk driving case, a Dowagiac man was sentenced to probation and jail for drunk driving causing serious injury.

Rolando Lucio, 44, of Edwards Street in Dowagiac, pleaded guilty to operating while impaired causing serious injury and was sentenced to three years’ probation in the Swift & Sure program, 90 days in jail with credit for one day served, 180 days tether and $17,271.29 in fines, costs and restitution.

The incident occurred Nov. 21, 2020, at Smith and Huckleberry Roads in Berrien Township when Lucio crashed his car into another vehicle.

The victim spoke before sentencing. She said Lucio’s actions and the car crash has destroyed her whole life. She said she does not go out any more and can’t walk for five minutes without being out of breath.

“I’m scared if I go anywhere in a car that somebody will hit me. I want some sort of peace,” she said. “This has turned my life totally upside down. What he did totally messed up my life.”

Defense attorney Carri Briseno said that her client also had significant medical injuries from the crash and has taken responsibility for the medical bills incurred by the victim.

Judge Schrock said that police found not only alcohol but cocaine and other controlled substances in Lucio’s blood.

“I could send you to prison, but I don’t know if that would help or give the victim closure, she will be affected for the rest of her life,” he said.

In other sentencings:

  • James Robert Adkins II, 49, of Baldwin Drive in Niles, pleaded guilty to attempted possession of a short-barreled shotgun and was sentenced to two years’ probation, credit for two days served and $658 in fines and costs. The incident occurred Aug. 14 in Niles.
  • Sha-Queta Marie Hamlett pleaded guilty to improper transport of a firearm in a motor vehicle and was sentenced to credit for three days served, firearm forfeited and $675. She also pled guilty to giving false information to police and was assessed $435 in fines and costs. The incident occurred July 21.
  • Travis Daryl Taylor, 31, of South Bend, pleaded guilty to carrying a concealed weapon in an automobile and was sentenced to two years’ probation, credit for two days served, $658 in fines and costs and forfeiture of the weapon. The incident occurred July 15 in Niles Township.