GREENFIELD — A Greenfield man admitted this week that he was drunk behind the wheel during a 2012 crash that resulted in criminal charges early last year.
Martin Smith, 48, 3303 West U.S. 40, Greenfield, pleaded guilty Tuesday to felony operating while intoxicated as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors. As a result, he’ll serve a sentence of two years on home detention along with one year on probation, a judge ordered.
The charges Smith faced were filed against him some five years after the crash he caused, records show.
Sheriff’s deputies said they filed paperwork with the prosecutor’s office in August 2012 a few days after the wreck, but the document was misplaced and never filed with the clerk. Prosecutors uncovered the paperwork in late 2016 and brought criminal charges against Smith in March — months before the statute of limitations was due to run out.
Investigators said Smith ran a stop sign near the intersection of County Road 300W and State Road 234, causing an accident that seriously injured a local woman.
Tests later showed he had a blood-alcohol content of .23 percent — nearly three times the legal driving limit of .08, officials said.
Attorney David Seiter of Indianapolis, who, along with Russell Cate of Indianapolis, represented Smith in the case, said his client was willing to take full responsibility for what happened on that day back in 2012. He’s since chosen to live an alcohol-free lifestyle, and he feels he is living a better, healthier life.
And the plea agreement the state offered to Smith was a fair compromise to resolve the case, Seiter said.
The parties settled on Smith pleading guilty to a Class D felony count of operating while intoxicated with a prior conviction rather than the Class C felony of operating while intoxicated causing injury, which had been filed against him.
Smith had been found guilty of operating while intoxicated in 2010 in Marion County. Additionally, the victim in the 2012 Hancock County case made a full recovery since the accident and supported of the plea agreement that was reached, said Deputy Prosecutor John Keiffner, who handled the state’s case.
Smith tried to get the case tossed out all together last year.
Cate filed a motion in August asking Hancock County Superior Court 1 Judge Terry Snow to dismiss the case, arguing it was unfair and violated Smith’s due process rights.
Cate argued in a written motion that the gap in time between the crash and the case filing was “a deliberate delay that works to the advantage” of prosecutors.
Evidence from the case — particularly a blood sample taken from the defendant following the accident — has been destroyed, Cate wrote.
In contrast, prosecutors argued misplacing the case file was simply a mistake and a jury should have the chance to weigh the evidence.
Snow ultimately denied the motion to dismiss, ruling that there was no malice in the decision prosecutors made or the Indiana Department of Toxicology’s decision to destroy the blood sample taken from Smith after it had been tested.
Smith told the judge he will live in Indianapolis while on home detention. If he violates any home detention or probation rules, he could be sent to prison for the remainder of his sentence.