Drunk Driving Accident Causes Injury, Then Death

Lewis Lee Hamlin appeared in court recently for his sentencing hearing, during which time Hillsdale County Circuit Court Judge Michael Smith, sentenced him to a minimum of almost two years behind bars.

Hamlin was the cause of a drunk driving accident that, although not initially, is believed to have ultimately taken the life of Janet Shoemaker. Court records show that Hamlin, while inebriated, attempted to pass a number of vehicles that were traveling more slowly that he was at the time. However, he struck Shoemaker’s vehicle in a head-on collision, which caused her severe injuries.

Shoemaker apparently suffered a number of broken bones, ranging from her shoulders to her ankles. In addition to her other injuries, Shoemaker also had a cancerous tumor that ruptured as a result of the impact. Although she didn’t die in the drunk driving accident, her family say that she suffered a great deal of pain in the days following the accident, and passed away not long afterwards on November 6th, 2015.

Although Shoemaker’s family believe that she died as a direct result of the crash, Hamlin was charged with operating while intoxicated causing serious injury. Under Michigan law, this is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, with possible fines of up to $5,000.

Hamlin who had been out on bond prior to the sentencing, appeared at court with his attorney. Shoemaker’s family also appeared at the sentencing, where they made impassioned victim-impact statements before the court, detailing the difficulties of having lost a wife and mother to a drunk driver.

Judge Smith, after extending his sympathies to the victim’s family, told Hamlin that he was a threat to all drivers when he was behind the wheel. This was in part due to the fact that this was not Hamlin’s first brush with the law when it comes to drunk driving. His record includes a number of prior convictions for DUIs.

Hamlin was sentenced to 23 to 60 months in prison, which amounts to anywhere from just under two years, to a total of five years.

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