A woman who plowed into bump-outs this summer on Main Avenue, sending four people to the hospital, avoided jail time Tuesday and was instead sentenced to 10 days of electronic home monitoring and two years’ supervised probation.
Megan Wilmot, 29, of Durango pleaded guilty last week to driving under the influence of alcohol and four counts of reckless endangerment.
Because of her high blood-alcohol content – a 0.255 BAC, more than three times Colorado’s 0.08 limit – the state of Colorado mandates jail time. As part of her plea agreement, Wilmot faced up to 45 days in jail. She also tested positive for THC.
At a sentencing hearing Tuesday, La Plata County Judge Anne Woods decided to forgo any jail time, and instead imposed electronic home monitoring and probation.
“My sentencing philosophy is no secret,” Woods said, referring to her preference to pursue rehabilitative sentences rather than jail time.
As part of her sentencing, Wilmot must also complete alcohol treatment classes, therapy, community service and pay restitution to the victims. Woods said the sentence is the best option to help the victims and Wilmot in the long run.
The crash occurred around 9:35 p.m. Sept. 16 in the 900 block of Main Avenue, taking out the bump-out in front of Tequila’s Mexican Restaurant and Maria’s Bookshop.
Witnesses said that after Wilmot crashed into the bump-outs, she then revved her engine and tried to drive away. A bystander had to take Wilmot out of the car while authorities arrived at the scene.
Four people eating dinner at Tequila’s were taken to Mercy Regional Medical Center, with a range of injuries, though non-life-threatening.
Prosecutors with the 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, however, said the crash could have easily resulted in more serious injuries or death. Deputy District Attorney Brad Neagos asked the full 45 days in jail be imposed.
“This was everyone’s worst nightmare,” he said. “This could have been a case easily involving death. Luckily, it was not.”
Wilmot’s defense attorney, Brian Schowalter, said Wilmot suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after her house burned down a few years ago.
On the night of the crash, Schowalter said Wilmot had been drinking and then got into a fight with her boyfriend, who kicked Wilmot out of the house. With nowhere to go, Wilmot got into the car and drove away.
“She never planned on driving that night,” Schowalter said.
Schowalter said Wilmot has taken responsibility for her actions and remained sober since the crash. He said Wilmot has no criminal history. Schowalter asked that no jail time be imposed.
“A jail sentence ... could be counterproductive,” he said. “It puts her back in a low place, and she wants to keep working to pay people back.”
Wilmot, speaking to the court, said she feels “deep regret and remorse” and, at the time, was coping negatively with alcohol.
“I could have seriously hurt someone,” she said. “I’m sorry for any pain I’ve caused.”
Woods said restitution would be set at a later date, though she estimated it could be more than $10,000.