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Man charged with vehicular homicide comes to court drunk

A Barnesville man who was drunk when he caused a crash at the intersection of Grove St. and Hwy. 41 last June arrived in court drunk Thursday, April 19. An intoxicated Richard A. Fagan was sentenced to 15 years with seven to serve in the June 29, 2011 vehicular homicide death of Betty June Smith, 80. Upon being taken into custody he was promptly brought back before Judge Tommy Wilson after blowing a .146 on a breathalyzer exam given while he was being processed. As Fagan, 44, protested he had not been drinking, Judge Wilson gave him 20 days to serve for contempt of court ‘“ to be served before his 15 year sentence began. ’I should give you the whole 15 years and give your mama 15 years of peace,’ Wilson told him as he exited the courtroom for the second time. Fifteen to serve is the maximum sentence for the vehicular homicide charge. Fagan was also charged with serious injury by vehicle, DUI, DUI less safe, failure to yield, driving while license revoked and violation of conditions of limited driving permit. None of those charges were dropped in his guilty plea. At the time of the accident at Veteran’s Parkway and Grove Street Fagan tested a .29 on the breathalyzer for his third DUI, according to testimony. The wreck also injured Kenneth and Barbara Stidham. ’That’s passed out drunk,’ said Wilson. ‘I’m not going to reduce your sentence. Your family is not going to see you for a while. Give your mama a hug goodbye.’ Fagan’s mother had accompanied him to court and told Wilson he had not been drinking for a while and had medical problems. Under questioning from Wilson, Fagan admitted he had done wrong but only apologized to the Smith family after Wilson said he saw no remorse being shown for what he had done. ’I’m sorry, I really am,’ Fagan said to the family. ‘I hate that it happened.’ The family then got a chance to speak. Daughter-in-law Mary Smith, whose husband was too ill to attend court, noted the victim’s son ‘is trying his best to forgive you but he’s having a hard time dealing with this. She was taken away from us because you had a total disregard for the law.’ Smith’s granddaughter asked Fagan to use his time in jail to ‘Turn your life around. She had a prison ministry and that’s what she’d want you to do. Honor her memory and the sacrifice she made.’ Not five minutes later, Wilson was chastising Fagan for appearing in court drunk. ’You’re making a mockery of this court,’ he said. ‘You’re an alcoholic. Act like a grown man.’

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