A man who reportedly drove a motorized cart from Kmart to Highland District Hospital to watch television has been ordered to stay out of Highland County.
Russell E. Smith, 51, of Hillsboro, appeared on first-degree misdemeanor receiving stolen property, which stemmed from what defense attorney Conrad Curren called the “Kmart fiasco.”
According to an affidavit filed with the court, law enforcement responded last month to Highland District Hospital after being advised that Russell was “riding around the emergency room lobby with a motorized handicap cart that appeared to have been taken from Kmart.”
When the officer arrived, he observed that Smith “smelled of an alcoholic beverage,” the affidavit states. He then asked Smith why he had the cart, and Smith said a Kmart employee had given him permission to use it.
Kmart was contacted, and management confirmed that Smith did not have permission to use the cart. He was arrested and charged with receiving stolen property.
In addition, Smith was facing a trespassing charge, a fourth-degree misdemeanor, and an open container charge, a minor misdemeanor, from an incident that had occurred at Kroger. Smith had previously been ordered to have no contact with that store.
On Friday, Smith entered into a plea agreement in which the receiving stolen property charge was reduced to unauthorized use of property, a fourth-degree misdemeanor. He would plead guilty to that charge, as well as to trespassing, and the open container charge would be dismissed.
McKenna said, in terms of Smith’s public intoxication, “We’ve been through this about five times this year.”
The judge said, “I’m fed up with it. This isn’t Mayberry. You’re not Otis. We don’t need a town drunk.”
Smith was released on reporting probation, which would be suspended on the condition that he “stay out of Highland County.” He is prohibited from having contact with Kroger or Kmart. He is also prohibited from having alcohol.
He was given 30 days in jail for the trespassing charge, which will be suspended once he is out of the county.
McKenna said this was not the first time Smith had been told to stay out of Highland County. “Since you keep breaking your promises to me, I’ve arranged to have you transported to Clinton County,” said McKenna.
He added, “I certainly hope this is the last time I see you.”
In other cases, several defendants charged with operating a vehicle under the influence appeared on Friday.
Jerry Dunseith, 45, of Hillsboro, pled guilty to OVI, a first-degree misdemeanor. The prosecution recommended a minimum sentence as well as a driver intervention program.
This conviction was a violation of previously suspended sentences, including a domestic violence charge, in which he had been prohibited from possessing alcohol, as well as a reckless operation charge, which had been reduced from OVI.
In discussing the terms of the plea agreement, McKenna said Dunseith had entered a driving intervention program before. “Why is this three-day program going to be any different?” asked the judge.
Dunseith said, “I’ve decided I don’t want to break the law … I’ll do better … I have done better, but not good enough.”
McKenna said that while he did not have to go along with the plea agreement, he would. “But I want to make sure you understand … This is as serious as a heart attack,” said McKenna.
This charge, he said, was subject to resentencing.
Dunseith will have to pay a $375 fine, plus court costs. He was given 180 days in jail, 177 of which were suspended. He will be given three days jail time credit for completing the driver intervention program.
In addition to the program, he will have to complete any recommended additional counseling. His driver’s license was suspended until Dec. 9. He was placed on reporting probation and is prohibited from possessing alcohol.
McKenna also said Dunseith had “217 days on the table in probation violations.”
He is to return to court on Dec. 15, at which time, 60 days in jail will be reserved for him.
“It’s what you do between now and then that might talk me out of that,” McKenna said, adding that if Dunseith is offered alcohol, he should think about whether or not he wants to be home for Christmas.
Also on Friday were several other individuals entering into plea agreements involving OVIs, including Matthew Hartley, 27, of Washington C.H.
As per the agreement, an original OVI charge was reduced to fourth-degree misdemeanor reckless operation. He also pled guilty to minor misdemeanor failure to control, as well as a seatbelt violation. An open container violation was dismissed.
Hartley said the accident from which the charges came had occurred after he’d been at a party. He added that he had sustained a fractured shoulder, fractured ribs, and a laceration on his head.
“In other words, you’re lucky to be alive,” McKenna said.
Hartley said that he was, adding, “I guarantee you’ll never see me again.”
Hartley was fined $250 and given 30 days in jail, which was suspended. He will have to complete a non-residential driving intervention program. In addition, he will have to pay a $30 fine for both the seatbelt violation and the failure to control charge.
Nicholas McKenzie, 21, of Winchester, entered into an agreement wherein an OVI charge was reduced to fourth-degree misdemeanor reckless operation. He was given 30 days in jail, 27 of which were suspended. He will be given three days jail time credit for completing a driver intervention program.
Nathaniel Gieger, 28, of Hillsboro, entered into an agreement wherein an OVI charge was reduced to third-degree misdemeanor reckless operation. He pled guilty to that charge, as well minor misdemeanor failure to maintain assured clear distance. A charge for leaving the scene of an accident was dismissed.
Gieger was given 60 days in jail, 57 of which were suspended. He will be given three days credit for completing a driver intervention program. He must complete the counseling in which he is currently enrolled. Gieger will also have to pay a $375 fine.
Sarah B. Stemann, 22, of Hillsboro, also entered into an agreement where an original OVI charge was amended to fourth-degree misdemeanor reckless operation. She was fined $250. She was given a 30 day sentence, with 27 days suspended. Stemann will be given jail time credit for a non-residential driver intervention program.
Brandon R. Retherford, 29, of Peebles, entered into an agreement wherein he pled guilty to first-degree misdemeanor OVI, and a driving on a suspended license charge was dismissed.
These charges were from a 2012 case. Retherford had failed to appear in court at that time.
He was fined $500 and sentenced to 90 days in jail, 87 of which were suspended. Retherford will be given three days jail time credit for completing a driver intervention program. His license is suspended until Dec. 8.
Finally, Joyce J. Harvey, 64, of Leesburg, was sentenced on a charge that was originally an OVI. After successfully completing her driver intervention program, the charge was reduced to first-degree misdemeanor physical control.
She was fined $375, a number which, McKenna said, took “into account how high (her) blood alcohol level was.”
Sarah Allen may be reached at 937-402-2571 or on Twitter @SarahAllenHTG.