GREENFIELD — A Greenfield man’s attorney asked a judge for leniency for his client this week, saying the man who led police on a high-speed chase suffers from narcolepsy and other medical conditions that cause him to black out while driving.
Meanwhile, officers told the court Christian Emmons, 44, placed them and others at risk as he drove his car through a residential area at speeds reaching more than 100 miles per hour one morning in early June.
This week in Hancock Circuit Court, Judge Richard Culver sentenced Emmons to 10 years in an Indiana Department of Correction facility, where he’ll undergo a medical evaluation and receive treatment. He’ll receive credit for time he’s already served since being arrested in June. Emmons pleaded guilty last month to two counts of attempted aggravated battery, a Level 3 felony, amid allegations he nearly struck officers trying to stop his car.
A Level 3 felony carries a sentence of three to 16 years and up to $10,000 in fines.
He was also charged after his June 9 arrest with felony counts of auto theft and resisting law enforcement, along with misdemeanor counts of operating while intoxicated and reckless driving. Results of a blood test conducted by police after the accident have not been returned to investigators from the Indiana Crime Lab, Prosecutor Brent Eaton said.
Emmons cried as he was escorted from the courtroom.
The chase began after Emmons was involved in a car accident, according to police reports.
He rolled the truck he was driving in the 1200 block of West County Road 100S, and a passer-by, who called 911, watched as Emmons started his vehicle — which landed upright — and took off again, police said.
Police chased Emmons from Greenfield into New Palestine, where he crashed his car into a homeowner’s fence in the 4300 block of South County Road 500W.
Emmons drove into oncoming traffic, over several mailboxes and into yards during the chase, court documents state. He had glassy eyes and slurred speech at the time of his arrest and refused to take a breath test, according to police.
He also tried to hit two officers’ patrol vehicles trying to stop him, police said.
On Wednesday, those officers took the stand to testify against Emmons.
Hancock County sheriff’s Deputy Gary Achor Jr. told the court that while he was responding to the chase, Emmons tried strike his vehicle head-on, and Achor had to drive off the roadway to avoid the collision.
It was a harrowing experience, Achor told the court.
Emmons also tried to hit Hancock County sheriff’s Lt. Donnie Munden’s patrol car during the chase, Munden said Wednesday.
Emmons sped through residential areas and passed a child care facility, where children were likely present, the officers said.
But defense attorney Donald Hamilton called witnesses who spoke to the health issues Emmons has, suggesting his client might not be responsible for his actions that morning.
Emmons’ mother-in-law, Charlene Sweet, told the court about Emmons’ blackouts.
On one morning last winter, Sweet found Emmons — wearing only his underwear — sitting in her truck, honking the horn. Later, Emmons didn’t remember the incident, suggesting he was sleep-walking when it happened, she said.
When Emmons took the stand, he told the court he has narcolepsy, insomnia, depression and sleep apnea, among other health issues. On at least two occasions, he’s been behind the wheel when he blacked out, Emmons testified. Once, he drove his car into a fence post and didn’t realize what had happened until his wife told him, he said.
“I just wasn’t there,” Emmons said.
His attorney asked Culver to consider Emmons’ health issues while sentencing him and to be lenient.
Culver said it’s important Emmons receives the treatment he needs, but he’s a risk to the public.