Rapid River woman gets maximum sentence for drunk driving, causing injury

ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) - A Rapid River woman received the maximum prison sentence for driving drunk and seriously injuring another driver.

Audrey Jo Hutchinson, 34, was sentenced last Monday to 38 months to 10 years in prison for operating with a high blood alcohol content causing serious injury with a prior conviction, according to a press release from the Delta County Prosecutor's Office. She had pleaded guilty to the felony charge.

On Dec. 19, 2017, investigators say Hutchinson caused a two-vehicle crash in the City of Gladstone when she drove her pickup truck onto US-2 & 41 and M-35 in the wrong direction.

Gladstone Public Safety Department responded to the head-on collision. Officers broke the passenger window of the vehicle to gain entry. The medivac helicopter was called to the scene due to the seriousness of the injuries.

Escanaba Public Safety Department responded and used extrication tools to remove the driver of the car. Officers noted several empty beer cans and bottles in Hutchinson's pickup truck. Lab results of Hutchinson's blood revealed a blood alcohol content of .207 grams of alcohol. Lab results also showed marijuana, amphetamine, benzodiazepine, and cocaine in Hutchinson's blood at the time of the collision.

Hannah Delaire, the driver of the vehicle Hutchinson hit, described at the sentencing the seriousness and significance of her injuries.

"It was clear Ms. Hutchinson was only thinking about herself that night," said Delaire. "She could have killed me or someone else."

Steve and Julie Delaire, the parents of Hannah Delaire, also spoke at the sentencing and described the trauma that their family has gone through due to Hutchinson's actions.

"Our daughter Hannah at the young age of 19 was doing everything right," they said. "Ms. Hutchinson's actions that night forever changed our daughter and our family."

The Delaires all requested the court to sentence Hutchinson to the maximum time possible under the guidelines and by law.

Delta County Circuit Court Judge Economopolous described that the 38 months he was sentencing Hutchinson is the maximum amount he was allowed under Michigan's sentencing guidelines, but that time does not compare to the journey Delaire has in front of her.

Delta County Prosecutor Brett Gardner called Hutchinson's actions selfish and indulgent.

"No sentence will ever compensate for the pain and suffering of the victim and her family faced and will continue to face," said Gardner. "I'm amazed by the strength of this family and their resolve to move forward. Hutchinson is being sentenced to over three years to think about her selfish and indulgent behavior."

Gardner also commended the quick actions of law enforcement officers and first responders on the scene with their life-saving actions in treating Delaire.



 
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