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Crown Point man admits to drunken crash that killed uncle

Updated: February 5, 2013 6:27AM



A Crown Point man pleaded guilty to reckless homicide in the drunken driving death of his uncle in exchange for a four-year sentence.

Daniel Garret Smith, 29, admitted he crashed his pickup truck into a ditch along Interstate 65 in Crown Point. The crash killed Jerry Smith, 49, of Crown Point, on Aug. 7, 2010.

Smith, who has a 2005 conviction for operating while intoxicated in Jasper County, will serve two years in the sheriff’s work release program and two years on probation if Lake Superior Court Judge Salvador Vasquez accepts the plea agreement. Smith will be required to attend an alcohol treatment program while incarcerated in the work release center, and must wear a SCRAM bracelet to detect alcohol consumption during his first year of probation. His license also will be suspended for two years.

Defense attorney Marce Gonzalez Jr. said prosecutors had an evidentiary issue with the blood draw, which was taken more than three hours after the crash. Chief Deputy Prosecutor Barbara McConnell agreed with Gonzalez that the case would have been difficult to prove at trial.

In addition, a civil wrongful death suit has been resolved, and the victim’s widow has agreed to the plea agreement terms, Gonzalez said.

Defense attorney Tom Mullins said Smith is currently in counseling.

Vasquez took the plea agreement under advisement and scheduled a Feb. 7 sentencing hearing.



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