Porter County Courts
June 15, 2012 5:40PM
Updated: June 17, 2012 4:14PM
Second OWI a very different situation
There was no prison sentence for a Valparaiso man who pleaded guilty to drunk driving again, almost three years after a 2008 conviction for causing a motorcyclist’s death in 2002. Michael Christopher Hreha, 48, will instead serve two years on home detention and a year to 18 months without a driver’s license.
Hreha will then spend two years on formal probation and two after that on administrative probation, where he won’t meet regularly with a probation officer.
Deputy Prosecutor Andrew Bennett said during Friday’s hearing, “I have mixed emotions about this case.”
When Hreha drove 15 miles to Portage in November 2010 with a .111 blood alcohol level, it was after a former girlfriend called multiple times for help because her boyfriend had pulled a gun on her. Hreha first told her to call family members to help, then tried to meet her closer to his home.
Police hadn’t stopped Hreha, but when he arrived at the woman’s home, they questioned him about involvement in the gun incident and saw he was drunk.
Defense attorney Larry Rogers noted that Hreha had no intention of driving when he’d had some beers while watching the Notre Dame game at home.
However, he still drove when he knew he’d been drinking instead of calling a friend or a cab, the prosecution said. “The effects (of drunk driving) should be obvious to Mr. Hreha more than anyone else,” Bennett said.
In June 2002, Hreha killed motorcyclist Michael W. Simac at Lincolnway and Garfield Street in Valparaiso, and he still makes monthly payments towards a $1 million settlement to Simac’s widow.