33-year-old Paul Grove Jr. reads from a written statement during his sentencing Friday in Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court. (Stacey Carmany, Tusco TV)
NEW PHILADELPHIA (Tusco TV) - The former Baltic man found guilty at trial this week for the 2017 crash that killed Jeanene Indermill and seriously injured two others is heading back to prison.
Judge Elizabeth Thomakos on Friday imposed the maximum 18-year sentence against 33-year-old Paul Grove Jr. on counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, OVI, and aggravated vehicular assault. The judge said even the maximum seemed insufficient in comparison to the physical, emotional, and economic toll the crash has taken on the victims and their families.
“The life-changing losses, the life-changing injuries, the grief just multiplied by these additional proceedings and depression, deep sorrow, all of these things make anything a court can do feel insufficient."
Mark Preston and Matt Indermill both testified during the three-day jury trial about the permanent injuries they suffered in the June 24th accident where Grove drove over the double yellow line on Crooked Run Road and crashed into their motorcycles after he had been drinking. Preston’s ankle was shattered, and Indermill experienced third-degree burns on 30 percent of his body in the aftermath of the crash that also claimed the life of his beloved wife. Grove spoke out during the hearing, apologizing to the people whose lives were forever changed by his actions.
“I’m sorry does not even begin to describe the level of genuine remorse and overwhelming sorry I feel as a result of this accident."
Grove said he just wants to help others turn their lives around before it’s too late.
“I’m determined to be an example of a changed life and share our story to help prevent similar situations and accidents [from] happening."
Grove’s attorney, Amanda Spies, asked the judge to place Grove in a lockdown treatment facility, saying he couldn’t function in prison because of his low intelligence and his depression and anxiety.
“He does not need to be placed in prison. Because of his IQ, he cannot function there. It is like throwing a raw steak into a cage of hungry wolves."
Judge Thomakos said that was an unreasonable request because the charges he was convicted on carry mandatory prison terms. She told Grove she was glad he turned his life around, but he should have done it sooner.
"You’ve had so many opportunities to stop and if you had stopped before June 24th of 2017, none of us would be here, one of us would be here on this earth."
Thomakos imposed the same 18-year maximum sentence last year after Grove pled guilty for his role in the accident. An appeals court later overturned his conviction because the judge failed to inform Grove that the vehicular homicide charge carried a mandatory minimum sentence. Thomakos apologized at sentencing for making the error that reopened Grove's case.
"I first want to acknowledge to all of you who have had to live through this again that I know that you’ve been hurt by my mistake as well, and I feel very bad about that, and I’m very sorry."
Grove is ineligible for early release, and his sentence also includes a mandatory three years of post-release control and his driver’s license being revoked for life.