DUI crash that in­jured boy earns 3 days in jail

The Columbus Dispatch - - Metro&state - By John Futty jfutty@dis­patch.com @john­futty

Deepak Ri­jal was driv­ing drunk on a North Side street when his SUV slammed into a tree and sent his 2-year-old son through the shat­tered front wind­shield.

The child sur­vived the Dec. 3 crash with in­juries lim­ited to cuts on his head and neck.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors de­ter­mined that the boy had been sit­ting in the back seat on a booster seat de­signed for older chil­dren.

Ri­jal, 27, of Ta­coma Road on the North Side, pleaded guilty in Septem­ber to driv­ing while in­tox­i­cated and child en­dan­ger­ing.

On Tues­day, based on Ri­jal’s re­morse and lack of a prior crim­i­nal record, a Franklin County judge sen­tenced him to three days in jail, placed him on pro­ba­tion for five years, sus­pended his driver’s li­cense for three years and fined him $375.

If Ri­jal vi­o­lates pro­ba­tion, he could be sent to prison for 11 months, Com­mon Pleas Judge David Young said.

Ri­jal, a na­tive of Bhutan, is not a U.S. ci­ti­zen, and he was warned dur­ing his plea hear­ing that he also faces the pos­si­bil­ity of de­por­ta­tion.

Young called Ri­jal “in­cred­i­bly for­tu­nate” that his son wasn’t in­jured more se­ri­ously.

Ri­jal was driv­ing south on Wal­nut Creek Drive to­ward Stone­henge Drive when the ve­hi­cle went off the right side of the road and struck the tree, As­sis­tant Pros­e­cu­tor Don­ald Miller said.

The child was taken to Na­tion­wide Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal for treat­ment of cuts “too nu­mer­ous to count,” ac­cord­ing to a hos­pi­tal re­port.

Ri­jal’s blood-al­co­hol con­tent was mea­sured at 0.19 per­cent, more than dou­ble the level at which a driver is considered im­paired un­der Ohio law.

De­fense at­tor­ney Paul Au­coin said his client has at­tended a three-day pro­gram for drunken-driv­ing of­fend­ers and has ob­tained “an ap­pro­pri­ate car seat” for his son.

“I’ll ex­plain to him what a break he got today,” Au­coin said.

Ri­jal spoke briefly in court through a Nepali-lan­guage in­ter­preter, telling the judge, “I never re­peat in my life again.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.