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November 26, 2012 05:56 PM

Drunk Driver Gets Jail Time For Hitting Kids

Canton, SD

Just one day after Christmas, a Sioux Falls man will go to jail for driving drunk and hitting three kids on their bikes with his car.  30-year-old Mark A. Davis was sentenced to eight years suspended prison time and six months at the Minnehaha County Corrections Center as well as three years probation for vehicular battery.  He was also sentenced to 360 days suspended jail time for misdemeanor DWI.  Davis' blood alcohol content level was .153, almost twice the legal limit.

On May 20, after spending the day swimming at a friend's house and drinking, Davis was driving south down a country road near Tea.  At about 9:30 p.m. that night, at the intersection of Sundowner Avenue and 85th Street, Davis hit three boys who were riding their bikes on the gravel road.  The boys and their bikes were thrown into a nearby ditch.  Lincoln County State's Attorney Tom Wollman said Davis got out of his car and lost his shoes while trying to help the boys.  Wollman said two of the boys had broken wrists, and one spent the summer in physical therapy.

Davis appeared remorseful as a Lincoln County judge sentenced him for vehicular battery and a misdemeanor DWI.   Before he was sentenced, Davis told the court he is done drinking and hopes others learn from his mistakes.  Wollman said Davis would not have been in court had he made better choices that day.

"It was dark out.  There weren't excessive speeds and as the judge pointed out, the victims were in the roadway and not necessarily in a position where they should have been," Wollman said.

Davis has had problems with alcohol before and has two previous DUI charges on his record.  The hours leading up to the crash, Davis drank, "six to nine beers."  On his way home, and before the crash, he stopped at a bar for another beer.  He has since gone to alcohol treatment and goes to AA meetings twice a week.

"His follow through with treatment and his efforts he's worked toward in terms of following through with that.  I think that certainly found it's mark here today," Wollman said.

Though the victims were not in court, one boy and his mom wrote Davis letters.  They outlined the impact the crash had on their family, but Wollman said the letters also stated hope that Davis had learned his lesson.  In addition to his 180 days in jail, Davis' driver's license has been revoked during his probation and he will have to pay at least $14,000 in restitution.

"Hopefully within that period of three years he'll have proven to us all and society that he has changed and we won't have to see him again," Wollman said.

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