Jay Charles Hobbs, a 48-year-old man from Lowell, has been sentenced to prison for a fatal drunk driving accident that took place back in February, leaving five Lake Odessa children motherless.
According to the records of the Kent County Sheriff’s Department, 36-year-old Tonya Beha and another woman were pushing their out-of-gas Honda Odyssey van, which contained seven children at the time, over a bridge on Alden Nash Road SE when they were struck.
It was after 10 at night and Hobbs, who was intoxicated at the time, was driving a Chevrolet truck when he slammed into the back of the van, crushing Beha, who died at the scene.
After the collision, Hobbs apparently got out of his vehicle and fled the scene on foot, taking refuge in a nearby wooded area. Police were able to capture him within a very short period of time, and he was arrested and taken to the Kent County Jail.
According to Assistant Kent County Prosecutor Kevin Bramble, the only plea offer that the prosecution was willing to extend to Hobbs, was that they would decline to suggest a sentence to the judge if Hobbs was willing to plead guilty to the charges he was facing. In addition, the prosecution still intended to argue against a reduction in sentencing, and request that the court allow a victim impact statement to be heard.
But at the time, Hobbs chose not to accept this offer. In the words of his attorney, John Grace, “We view that, essentially, as no offer so we would respectfully request a trial date.” And so the trial was scheduled for early September. But just as it was about to begin, Hobbs changed his mind and entered pleas for both charges, in addition to the court’s decision that he be charged as a habitual offender.
Hobbs pled guilty to a single charge of operating under the influence causing death, and failure to stop of the scene of a crash when at fault causing death. On October 21st, he was sentenced to serve seventy-five months, which is approximately six and a quarter years, to twenty-two and a half years in prison.