In the wake of his recent drunk driving accident, 44-year-old Peter Gerkin, a veteran sergeant with the Kent County Sheriff’s Department, appeared in court in a wheelchair where he pled guilty to a charge of Operating While Intoxicated.
Gerkin was initially charged with operating with a high blood-alcohol content, also known as being “super drunk”, and being in possession of an open alcohol container. However, he accepted a plea bargain, and pled guilty to only an OWI charge.
Seated in his wheelchair with his right leg elevated, Gerkin took the opportunity to apologize to his family, his community and to the Sheriff’s Department. He said he takes full responsibility for his actions and is very grateful that no one else was hurt in the collision.
The judge sentenced him to 180 days in jail, but then suspended the sentence on the condition that he kept him record clean and had no further incidents. He will, however, be required to perform 100 hours of community service, pay a fine of $1,000.00, and be on active probation for two years.
Given the severity of the accident and the quantity of alcohol in his system at the time, Sergeant Gerkin was very lucky to receive such a lenient sentence. According to his attorney, his BAC shortly after the accident was 0.24, making him a candidate for Michigan’s “super drunk” law and much stiffer penalties.
Gerkin, whose injuries were described at the time as “very serious”, and who is still only partially mobile, will need additional time before he is able to return to work. Thus far, nothing has been said by the Sheriff’s Department about a suspension or termination from his position. We wish him a speedy recovery and a safe return to work.