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Two sentenced on fleeing police in separate cases

January 13, 2019

MADISON — A man and a woman were each sentenced Friday morning for their respective flights to avoid arrest in separate cases.

Casey Staub of Tilden and Ashley Titus of Norfolk appeared in front of Judge Mark Johnson in Madison County District Court.

Staub, 30, had previously been found guilty of driving under the influence — third offense, operating a motor vehicle to avoid arrest — willful reckless and criminal mischief.

According to court records, the Norfolk police were called in May 2018 regarding a driver in the area of South 13th Street and West Omaha Avenue who had run a stop light and almost sideswiped another vehicle.

While officers were enroute, the vehicle in question pulled into Burger King at 701 S. 13th Street and went through the drive-through.

A responding officer pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant to observe the vehicle, which then also pulled into the same parking lot.

The officer had voluntary contact with the driver, Staub, and noted that Staub appeared to be intoxicated. When the officer asked Staub about drinking alcohol, Staub put his vehicle in reverse and began to back up.

Staub continued to back up and struck the front of the officer’s police cruiser and drove out of the parking lot at a high rate of speed.

He then drove westbound on Pasewalk Avenue and almost caused an accident. Staub refused to pull over for officers, and police discontinued the pursuit.

After leaving the Norfolk City limits, Battle Creek police and the Nebraska State Patrol were able to locate Staub and stop his vehicle.

In court Friday, Deputy Madison County Attorney Matthew Kiernan said that this case put Staub at three DUIs in six years.

Kiernan said Staub refused to provide any samples to police in order to determine his level of intoxication and was uncooperative in that respect.

“The PSI (pre-sentence investigation) scores (Staub) at a maximum risk range on the alcohol risk scale, so I think he’s a danger on the streets and highways,” Kiernan said.

He did not make a recommendation to the court on sentencing Staub.

Staub’s attorney, Brad Montag, said his client clearly has an alcohol problem and has acknowledged that every time he gets into trouble, it is alcohol-related.

Montag said Staub, however, is a hard worker and currently runs his family farm and works part-time in construction.

Staub had received probation on a prior DUI and was successful, Montag said.

“I think he needs that help and structure of probation. I think (the probation office’s) recommendation of a jail sentence and probation is the appropriate thing to do in this case,” Montag said.

Staub had completed a substance abuse evaluation, has been attending AA sessions and was given an IOP (intensive out-patient) recommendation, for which he was attempting to line up, Montag said.

“I think that’s the best thing for him. I don’t think prison helps correct the problem,” he said.

When given the opportunity to address the court, Staub also asked for a probationary term.

“I just have a problem drinking, and I would like to have probation to solve and take care of it. I’ve always had a good work history and a good job. Losing my CDL and my license is going to affect me for the rest of my life,” Staub said.

Judge Johnson told Staub that driving under the influence threatens serious harm, especially when driving on the highway, traveling at faster speeds.

“Also, the flight to avoid arrest endangers not only the public, but the officer that attempted to stop you. ... Damage to the officer’s patrol unit occurred, just because the officer was doing his job,” Johnson said.

Staub’s history alcohol offenses and his reckless behavior on the night in question demonstrate his inability to conform to probation, Johnson said.

He then sentenced Staub on the DUI — third offense charge to 364 days in jail with credit for three days served, a $1,000 fine and a license revocation for 15 years.

For operating a motor vehicle to avoid arrest, Staub was sentenced to a fine of $3,500 and a two year license revocation. On the criminal mischief charge, Staub was sentenced to an additional 90 days in jail and $114.18 in restitution to the City of Norfolk.

All of the sentences are to run consecutive to each other. Staub must serve at least 243 days in jail, less three days, before he is first eligible for mandatory release.

IN THE case involving Titus, the defendant was charged with operating a motor vehicle to avoid arrest — willful reckless, driving under the influence and theft by unlawful taking.

Kiernan said Titus, 28, had been found by her family to be stealing medication from her 9-year-old nephew in 2018. When family members called the cops, Titus fled the scene, refusing to pull over for police, and left town.

Later, Titus went home and then turned herself in the next day.

“She said she was so high on pills and beer that she didn’t remember much of what happened (during the incident in question),” Kiernan said.

Driving in such an intoxicated state, almost “blackout drunk,” was part of the reason the state recommended a term of incarceration, Kiernan said.

Titus’ attorney, Chelsey Hartner with the Madison County Public Defender’s Office, said her client has a history of drug abuse, including daily meth use for a few years when Titus was younger.

Titus had completed a substance abuse evaluation and has also been attending counseling and meetings twice per week. She has also been taking her prescribed psych meds for the past few months, Hartner said.

“She hasn’t had any (illegal substance) use since May. She is following the recommendations of an evaluation now that she would be if she was given probation,” Hartner said.

She asked the court to not follow the recommendation of the PSI for incarceration, but instead to order a term of probation.

When Titus was given the chance to address the court, she reiterated the work she said she has done since the incident in question.

“I do have a job, I work at Burger King at night-time. As with the DUI, I do take responsibility for my actions that night. ... I do believe I can be a productive member of society on probation, keep my job and take my meds as recommended,” Titus said.

Johnson said Titus’ flight to avoid arrest did threatens serious harm to both the public and the officers attempting to stop her.

“You have two prior felonies. It’s time for you to settle down, start behaving the way you need to,” Johnson said.

He noted that Titus has a substantial criminal history, particularly for her age and that the PSI placed her at a high risk to re-offend.

“The court will take into account that you are seeking counseling and continuing taking your meds, which also assists in reforming your behavior. ... I know what the PSI is recommending, but in reviewing it, it appears that progress is being made as to this date, and the court will find that it appears likely that you will respond affirmatively to probation,” Johnson said.

He then sentenced Titus to 24 months of probation. She was also ordered to serve 60 days in jail upfront and given credit for 10 days previously served. Titus was also ordered to serve another 90 days in jail prior to the end of probation, unless that time is waived by the court.

Titus was ordered to pay a $500 fine, to write a letter of apology to her nephew and her license was revoked for six months.

Johnson also sentenced others on the following charges:

Driving under the influence

Carlos Perez, 36, Madison, driving under the influence — fourth offense, 2-4 years in the Nebraska Department of Corrections with credit for one day served, license revoked for 15 years, costs.

Possession of cocaine

Jesus Uriarte, 26, no address listed, attempted possession of cocaine with intent to deliver, 8-10 years in the Nebraska Department of Corrections with credit for 167 days served, costs waived.

Possession of methamphetamine

Colby Napier, 32, 102 Willow Way, possession of methamphetamine, driving under suspension, 18 months of probation, $2,000 in fines, license suspended for 30 days, 90 days in jail with credit for two days served to be served prior to the end of probation unless waived, costs.

Daryl Sutter, 63, 602 S. First St., 12 months of probation, 90 days in jail with credit for eight days served to be served prior to the end of probation unless waived, 30 hours of community service, costs.

Devin Delgado, 23, no address listed, 24 months of probation, 90 days in jail with credit for 62 days served to be served prior to the end of probation unless waived, costs.

Theft by deception

Jamaal Conway-Smith, 22, Wayne, 24 months of probation, $2,461.80 in restitution, 90 days in jail with 30 days to be served immediately on weekends and the balance to be served prior to the end of probation unless waived, costs.

Probation violation

Andrew Friesz, 19, 113 Gold Strike Drive, Apt. 1, probation violation on the prior charge of aiding the consummation of a felony, probation continued.

Possession of alprazolam

Jacob Sweeney, 20, Omaha, 18 months of probation, 90 days of GPS monitoring, 90 days in jail with credit for 147 days served, costs.

Judge James Kube also sentenced others on the following charges Thursday:

Operating a motor vehicle to avoid arrest

Wyatt Hornik, 21, 1400 Blaine St., 12 months of probation, 30 days in jail to be served prior to the end of probation unless waived, license revoked for two years, costs.

Possession of methamphetamine

Mark Hausmann, 46, 302 N. Birch St., attempted possession of methamphetamine, $200 fine, costs.

James Lewis, 50, 923 E. Norfolk Ave., 24 months of SSAS probation, 90 days in jail with credit for 17 days served to be served prior to the end of probation unless waived, costs.

Probation violation

Robert Thompson, 52, 210 S. 13th Place, probation violation on prior charge of driving under the influence (.15 grams or more) — refusal, probation revoked, 30-48 months in the Nebraska Department of Corrections with credit for 117 days served, $530.43 in restitution, license revoked for 15 years, costs.

Drew Noffsinger, 39, 1208 W. Norfolk Ave., probation violation on prior charge of possession of methamphetamine, probation continued with six months added, costs.

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