VAN BUREN -- A New Jersey man will serve six months in the Crawford County jail and pay $85,000 restitution after he pleaded guilty Friday to driving drunk and killing an 84-year-old woman trying to cross a highway.
Michael Victor Kenask, 35, of Holmdel, N.J., pleaded guilty to negligent homicide, a felony, and first-offense driving while intoxicated, an unclassified misdemeanor, before Crawford County Circuit Judge Mike Medlock.
Adhering to a negotiated plea between Kenask and the prosecuting attorney's office, Medlock also gave Kenask a suspended 10-year sentence and ordered him Friday to pay $65,000 of the restitution to the victim's family. The remaining $20,000 restitution, a $1,000 fine and $320 booking fee will be paid off at $600 a month beginning 30 days after Friday.
Prosecuting Attorney Marc McCune announced in court that the family of the victim, Wilma Delores Glass, was aware of the plea agreement and approved.
Kenask was ordered to surrender at the county jail Sept. 11 to begin serving his sentence, McCune said.
Court records showed that a relative of Glass, Tina Fitzgerald, filed a wrongful death suit in circuit court against Kenask a week after Glass' death. The records showed the case was dismissed Feb. 22 after a settlement was reached.
Kenask, tall and thin and wearing a shirt, tie and jacket, stood before Medlock with his attorney, Rex Chronister of Fort Smith, and answered in one-word replies as Medlock reviewed his rights and went over sentencing papers in which Kenask admitted guilt to the charges filed against him.
He was accused of hitting and killing Glass with his vehicle as she crossed U.S. 64 in Van Buren. Glass was using a walker when she was struck about 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11. She died at the scene.
Kenask told police he had driven into Van Buren and was looking for a hotel where he could spend the night and didn't see Glass crossing in front of him. He told police he was moving from Oregon to New Jersey.
Officers at the scene smelled intoxicants on Kenask, and he admitted he'd had a couple of drinks when he stopped for lunch in Oklahoma City.
A blood alcohol test conducted at the county jail showed he had a blood alcohol content of 0.14 percent. A driver with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or greater is considered intoxicated in Arkansas.
State Desk on 08/19/2017