Niles area residents receive probation sentences

Published 12:11 pm Friday, November 25, 2022

NILES — Two area residents received probationary terms Monday in Berrien County Trial Court.

Nicholas Adam Utz, 40, who is homeless, pleaded guilty to possession of meth and was sentenced to two years probation, 90 days in jail with credit for 17 days served and $258 in fines and costs. The rest of his jail term can be served at the Twin County Community Probation Center. 

The incident occurred Sept. 8 in Niles Township. 

Berrien County Assistant Prosecutor Kate Arnold said she was concerned whether Utz can be successful on probation. She noted that he was sentenced in September for use of meth and then arrested a short time later for possession of meth in this case. He also has a pending court case in Cass County. 

Travis John Wise, 30, of South Bend, pleaded guilty to second offense drunk driving with occupants under 16 in the vehicle and was sentenced to three years probation, 60 days in jail with credit for nine days served, 100 hours community service, 120 days tether and $1,418 in fines and costs. 

He was also sentenced to 30 days in jail with credit for nine days served for contempt of court for violating bond conditions. He tested positive for alcohol and then later did not test for alcohol as required. All the jail terms can be served at the Twin County Community Probation Center. 

The incident occurred July 10 in the city of Niles. Police stopped him for drunk driving and discovered he had his three and six year old children in the car. His blood alcohol level was .116. 

Wise said he has been getting treatment for his alcoholism and wants to continue with it. “I’m glad I realized it in time before I hurt anybody driving impaired,” he said. “I’ve learned a ton in rehab and I’m still learning.” 

“I hope the court can see that I’m trying my best to correct my problems,” he added. “I want to be a better citizen, a better parent, a better son and a better brother. I have a job waiting for me when I get out. I still have a chance to put this behind me and move on.” 

“My intention is not so much to punish you but to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Judge Schrock told him. “You need to recognize that this will be a lifelong battle and it takes a commitment to overcome it.”