A Wharton man was sentenced this morning to 18 months in prison for aggravated vehicular assault, a third-degree felony.
Jeremy R. Saldana, 43, was indicted on three felony charges and a misdemeanor OVI charge, stemming from an April incident on Main Street/U.S. 68 in Arlington. Saldana struck a parked car with his 1995 Ford pickup while a Sandusky woman was his passenger.
The OVI charge was dismissed, along with felonious assault, a second-degree felony, and vehicular assault, a fourth-degree felony.
A report from the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office said that Saldana allegedly told the passenger he was going to crash the truck on purpose.
However, those in court today agreed that he hadn’t meant to crash.
The case “started out in a different posture,” Judge Reginald Routson said. “It appears that as the evidence was developed, that, while certainly a serious crime — in no way minimizing that — it doesn’t have the same posture and look as it might have if you looked at the indictment.”
“This was not a malicious case,” Saldana’s attorney, Alex Treece, said. His client “had too much to drink” and then made a bad decision to drive and had an accident.
“I made a bad, bad decision that night,” Saldana said. He said he wished he had done something different.
Treece and Assistant County Prosecutor Lora Manon jointly recommended the 18-month prison term to Routson.
Saldana must make restitution of $6,155.33 to the woman whose parked car he hit, totaling it. She witnessed the incident from her porch.
His license will be suspended for three years.
Saldana has credit for 116 days served in the Hancock County jail.
Neither the passenger nor the woman whose vehicle was totaled appeared in court today.