CLEARFIELD – A Morrisdale man pleaded guilty to aggravated assault by vehicle Monday in sentencing court.
Garret William Anderson, 24, was in an all-terrain vehicle that tipped over near Pottersdale Road in Karthaus Township on July 25, 2020.
Police say that after the victim and his son stopped to help him put the vehicle upright, Anderson’s vehicle struck the father.
Prior to sentencing, the victim’s wife addressed the court, saying when she arrived on the scene of the accident her husband was “lying in the middle of the road.” He suffered a head injury, a broken back and broken ribs.
“He was an innocent man” who simply stopped by to help Anderson after his ATV tipped over, she said.
She stated she wanted Anderson to realize what driving under the influence does to people. She asked President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman to give him the maximum sentence.
When she was asked if she approved of the plea agreement, which only included the aggravated assault by vehicle and summary charges with the driving under the influence charges withdrawn, she commented that she was not happy with it. But she did not ask for the plea to be rejected.
Ammerman asked Deputy District Attorney Trudy Lumadue why he should accept the plea.
She explained that the ATV suffered damage in the accident and there was a question if Anderson hit the victim because of that damage, rather than because he was impaired.
Chris Pentz, attorney for Anderson, offered the court a photo of the vehicle with bent wheels, which would “make it impossible to control”.
Ammerman sentenced Anderson to nine months to 18 months in jail with three years concurrent probation for his actions.
He stated that the accident was “unfortunate” but because Anderson did not have a prior record, he could not justify sending him to state prison.
According to the affidavit, the victim’s son said he and his father both stopped their vehicles after seeing an all-terrain vehicle tip over.
After they assisted Anderson with getting the vehicle upright, the son returned to his vehicle and drove away.
Noticing his father was not behind him, he returned to the scene where he saw his father lying in the middle of the roadway.
The victim was taken from the scene and flown to UPMC in Altoona for treatment of his injuries. He reportedly had no memory of the accident due to his head trauma.
The trooper on the scene noted that Anderson appeared to be under the influence and when asked, he admitted he “had a few drinks”.
A breath test at the scene showed Anderson’s blood alcohol content to be 0.158 percent. The legal limit in Pennsylvania is 0.08 percent.