Man in drunk driving crash sent to prison

Becky Vargo • Mar 13, 2018 at 11:00 AM

A Dowagiac man was sent to prison for a minimum of almost two years when sentenced Monday in Ottawa County Circuit Court on a drunken driving incident that resulted in a serious injury crash in Grand Haven Township.

Nathan Kyle Hale, 37, was given credit for 104 days already served in the Ottawa County Jail.

Judge Jon Hulsing complimented Hale for the programs he completed while in jail, but emphasized the fact that Hale’s actions put many people at risk.

The judge also noted Hale’s prior record of burglary, breaking and entering, and auto thefts in Florida.

Hulsing said that the incident in Grand Haven Township on Nov. 28, 2017, involved shoplifting, a police chase with Hale driving at 80 mph in Grand Haven city limits, and a crash that left Hale’s passenger seriously injured. Hale, who was intoxicated, fled the scene.

A police report from the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety noted that an officer in the area of Beacon Boulevard and Slayton Avenue was operating a radar to check speeds early in the morning of Nov. 28. A black Chevy Cruze was observed traveling north at 48 mph in a 30-mph zone.

The police officer activated his emergency lights, but the Cruze did a Michigan turn and continued south on Beacon, traveling at speeds up to 85 mph while still in the city limits. Once south of Robbins Road, the car was traveling at 100 mph, the report said.

Police noted the driver attempted to turn off southbound U.S. 31 onto Rosy Mound Drive in Grand Haven Township, but failed to make the turn and crashed on the railroad tracks. The driver fled the vehicle and headed into the woods, falling face first a few times before stopping and giving himself up to police.

Hale suffered facial injuries and was taken to North Ottawa Community Hospital for treatment. A blood test revealed that his alcohol level was 0.106.

The injured passenger left behind complained of back pain and was transported by ambulance to the hospital.

Hale was arrested and taken to the Ottawa County Jail.

On Feb. 5, Hale entered a guilty plea to charges of third-degree fleeing police, resisting police, having no driver’s license (multiple licenses) and drunken driving. In return for his plea, two District Court cases were dismissed. At that time, he was remanded to jail without bond.

“I take full responsibility for my actions that night,” Hale told the judge when given an opportunity to comment.

Hale apologized to the victim and everyone else affected by the incident. He said he’s made a lot of mistakes in his life, but he has also served his time and paid his debt.

Hale said he never had help for the root of his problems.

“I’ve had a powerful drug and alcohol addiction since the early age of 14,” he told the judge. “Your honor, I need help.”

Hale was not prosecuted on other charges of failing to stop at a personal injury crash and second-degree retail fraud, both from the same date.

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