Created on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 Written by NATE SMITH
A defendant was sentenced Monday to two months in local jail by Logan County Common Pleas Court Judge Mark S. O’Connor for driving drunk and leading law enforcement on a high speed chase through the city.
In addition to 60 days in Logan County Jail, Shawn Burkepile, 26, of 348 E. Sandusky Ave., Apt. 14, was sentenced to five years’ community control, a $375 fine and a two-year driver’s license revocation for failure to comply with the order of a police officer and operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
The defendant fled the scene of a traffic stop that Bellefontaine Police attempted to conduct in the early morning hours of Nov. 25. According to police reports, officers observed the defendant weaving in and out of northbound lanes, and attempted to pull him over in the 5000 block of Main Street.
Mr. Burkepile pulled over briefly before taking off again and leading police on a chase through the city that reached speeds in excess of 60 mph. The defendant struck multiple traffic signs, and narrowly avoided hitting several parked cars along Columbus Avenue.
The chase eventually concluded when Mr. Burkepile drove himself into a dead-end at a cul de sac at Woodglen Circle. He drove his car down a grassy embankment near a residence at 1109 Woodglen Drive. His car got stuck in the grass and officers converged on the vehicle and arrested the suspect.
Defense attorney Scott Barrett said his client’s distress over a family member’s serious medical condition was the reason for his heavy drinking that night. Mr. Burkepile told the judge he’s aware of how serious his actions were that night, calling them “completely inexcusable.”
“I give thanks daily for not killing anyone,” he said, calling it a “blessing” that no one was hurt.
The drunk driving charge is the defendant’s second since 2009, Chief Assistant Prosecutor Eric Stewart said. He must continue to undergo alcohol counseling through Consolidated Care as a condition of his community control.
Mr. Burkepile will be eligible for work release after 15 days to return to his job at a local fast food establishment. The defendant’s employer wrote a letter to the court that spoke very highly of Mr. Burkepile’s work ethic and customer service.
Judge O’Connor observed that in the past a defendant like Mr. Burkepile could be referred to the West Central Community Based Correctional Facility for six months of intense residential treatment, but changes initiated by the state legislature have made it more difficult to refer defendants to CBCFs.
“The option now is either prison or jail,” he said.
With five days already served, the defendant has 55 days yet to serve. He began serving his time Monday.