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Fatal crash could net 8-year term

October 4, 2018

A New Haven man could spend at least eight years in prison for driving drunk and causing a crash in June that left a woman dead.

A probation violation tied to an earlier drunken driving case could add three years behind bars to that sentence.

Jeremy Hoerger, 30, was charged in July with reckless homicide and driving while intoxicated causing death in the June 29 wreck that killed Juliet Ann Taylor Schnebelt. He pleaded guilty Tuesday to the drunken driving charge and violation of specialized driving privileges.

A plea agreement calls for Hoerger to be sentenced Oct. 26 in Allen Superior Court to 14 years in prison, with six years suspended, on the drunken driving charge. The violation carries a 60-day sentence and will be served at the same time as the other charge.

He was driving a 1996 Chevy Blazer around 10 p.m. in the 11000 block of Cuba Road when he failed to negotiate a curve, struck a sign and crashed into a tree, a probable cause affidavit states. The vehicle caught fire and Schnebelt, a passenger in the car, was killed.

Court records show he pleaded guilty last year to a felony count of operating while intoxicated with a prior conviction and was sentenced to about a year on home detention. He also was sentenced to three years probation and was accepted into the county’s Restoration Court program, designed to help mentally ill offenders who repeatedly are arrested on drug- or alcohol-related offenses.

Hoerger violated probation with the fatal wreck, and officials are pushing for him to spend three years in prison, according to court documents. A Nov. 1 revocation hearing is scheduled.

He also pleaded guilty to separate operating-while-intoxicated charges in 2010 and 2012, Allen County court records show.

A judge signed an order in July 2017 allowing him to drive for 30 months for certain situations including doctor’s appointments and alcohol and substance abuse counseling.

Less than a year later, Schnebelt was killed. The affidavit says she suffered a cervical spine fracture and “multiple blunt force injuries.”

mleblanc@jg.net

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