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What you need to know for 01/18/2018

Johnstown drunken driver ‘sees the faces’

Johnstown drunken driver ‘sees the faces’

While a drunken driver accepted his sentence of six months in Fulton County Jail and five years’ pro

While a drunken driver accepted his sentence of six months in Fulton County Jail and five years’ probation, Mary Stiglmeier, one of the victims of his vehicular assault last July, stood and read from a prepared statement.

Andrew Grismore, head down and shackled in an orange jumpsuit, listened as Stiglmeier said: “I thought it was important for me and my family to be here so that Mr. Grismore could see the faces of the people in the car that he smashed into the night of July 5.”

That night, an intoxicated Grismore swerved his Jeep into oncoming traffic on Route 30 between Northville and Mayfield and collided with Stiglmeier’s vehicle, which was carrying six members of her family. She tried to avoid Grismore, but was struck nonetheless. She suffered a serious leg injury while some of her passengers sustained broken ribs, a broken collarbone and a fractured sternum. No one was killed.

Fulton County Court Judge Richard Giardino recited the six felony and 10 misdemeanor counts that Grismore pleaded guilty to, including three vehicular assault counts. He noted Grismore had no traffic tickets, no prior drunken driving arrests, had earned a bachelor’s degree and possessed an otherwise clean record, but said “That doesn’t erase the pain sustained and felt by the victims.”

Giardino said Grismore’s lack of a criminal history and the fact that nobody was injured too severely helped made a sentence of six months in jail and five years of probation fair. “However, that doesn’t remove the fact that they could have been fatally injured with a few more miles [per hour] or a few more inches,” he added.

Grismore could have faced up to seven years in prison if convicted at trial of all charges.

Giardino also ordered an alcohol-sensing ignition interlock device be placed on Grismore’s car for 12 months after his release.

Stiglmeier spoke of her mother, who had to see the scene of the accident to find that her children, grandchildren, son-in-law and daughter-in-law were involved. Stiglmeier said her sister had to help and didn’t know whether everyone was dead or alive. She also said her brother had to receive the call in the middle of the night and hear that his family was hit by a drunken driver.

“These are the lives that you have hurt,” Stiglmeier added.

Grismore’s attorney, Robert Abdella, apologized to the family. So too did Grismore.

“I’m sorry for the events on July 5,” Grismore said. “Nothing of that sort will ever happen again. I hope some day you can forgive me.”

The Stiglmeiers approved of the plea deal to avoid putting their children through any more trauma as a result of the crime.

Fulton County Assistant District Attorney Chad Brown had nothing to add at sentencing. Instead, he simply invited Stiglmeier to share the floor.

“My hope is that you will think of, and remember, the family that you have changed forever,” she read. “I’m saddened to think that we will never be able to go back to being the people we were a year ago both physically and emotionally. ... One day, we will never remember your name, but I hope you never forget ours.”

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