Staff Writer

A Wharton man was sentenced Monday in Hancock County Common Pleas Court 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 Monday 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 to the woman whose parked car he hit, totaling it. She witnessed the incident from her porch.

The passenger’s medical expenses were covered by her insurance, Manon said, so Saldana does not owe her any money. Several of her bones were broken, according to the sheriff’s office report.

His license will be suspended for three years.

Saldana will receive credit for 116 days served in the Hancock County jail, where he will remain until being taken to a state prison.

Neither the passenger nor the woman whose vehicle was totaled appeared in court Monday.

Rubright: 419-427-8417
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