Man sentenced after deserting people at crash PDF Print E-mail
Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Staff Writer   
Tuesday, 08 January 2013 10:07
Michael Garczynski, left, in court with his attorney. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Blaming alcohol more than his own judgment, Michael T. Garczynski, 35, asked the judge Monday morning "to have mercy so I can get control of my life."
Judge Reeve Kelsey ordered the Toledo resident to serve four years in prison for two counts of felonious assault as a result of his actions which resulted in a car accident on Nov. 17, 2011. The judge also ordered 180 days in jail for one count of endangering children, a misdemeanor charge.
Garczynski told the judge he accepted the plea agreement, which involved dropping two additional felonious assault charges and an additional endangering children charge, out of concern for the young victims and was not convinced he caused the accident.
The accident occurred on Ohio 199, just south of Eckel Junction Road in Perrysburg Township.
Court and police records indicated he was a passenger in the car and entered into an argument before he jerked the steering wheel. The driver lost control with the car veering off into a ditch.
There were five people in the car. The defendant, the driver and another adult passenger, along with two children.
According to the police report, the vehicle soon filled with water. Garczynski reportedly was able to exit the car but was "standing on the roadside offering no aid to the remaining trapped occupants."
The two adults and two children were rescued by police from the vehicle, which was partially submerged.
The defendant told the judge that he started getting into trouble with alcohol at age 18 when he received the first of two prior felony prison sentences.
"I never truly realized what was happening. I drank to get drunk and never knew when to stop," Garczynski told the judge. "I have been thinking this whole year how everything has been due to alcohol."
Referencing the accident, he added, "I regret what happened to the girls. I'm sorry for the children - sorry they got hurt."
The defendant concluded his remarks again asking for "a chance to change my life and show what I can do."
Previously, defense attorney Jeffrey Simpson Jr., set the alcoholism basis for his client's issues noting that his two previous convictions both involved alcohol.
"He was at a football game, was drunk and was convicted. Then he was at a bar, was drunk and was convicted," Simpson said. "It's more than just the usual effects of alcohol, it is something internally with how he handles the substance."
The attorney concluded, "Alcohol has been a horrible influence in his life."
Assistant Wood County prosecuting attorney Gwen Howe-Gebers noted the trauma suffered by the young girls in the car, telling how they are now starting to function a little better instead of "reliving that same feeling of being in a ditch in a car filling with water."
She said the plea agreement was offered to spare the victims from any additional trauma.
She countered his claim of not being culpable, saying there are witnesses including bystanders who did assist the victims in the car while he stood on the road without trying to help the people he said he cared about.
Kelsey noted the physical, psychological and economic suffering of the victims and Garczynski's criminal record and relationship with the victims in issuing the four-year sentence on each felonious assault account. He ordered the sentences to be served concurrently. The judge also ordered three years of post-release control sanctions. In ordering the 180-day jail sentence for the misdemeanor, Kelsey called it moot as he has already served that time while awaiting the disposition of the case.

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