A Richmond man pleaded guilty Thursday in Madison Circuit Court to three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment after admitting he had smashed into two vehicles while driving drunk.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jennifer Smith recommended Alfred J. Hairston, 40, of Richmond, serve one year for each felony count. He could have received a maximum of 15 years in prison.
Smith did not have a recommendation about whether Hairston should serve the three years concurrently, for a total of one year, or consecutively, for a total of three years. She left the final decision on the jail term up to the Judge Jean C. Logue to determine at a later sentencing hearing.
Richmond police officers were called March 1 to the scene of an accident on the Eastern Bypass near Commercial Drive. When they arrived, they discovered that a vehicle driven by Hairston had crossed the concrete median and struck the driver’s side of another vehicle that was waiting to make a turn, according to the police report.
Hairston drove away from the accident and headed in the direction of Big Hill Avenue. As he approached the road, police say he rammed a stopped vehicle in the rear until he gained enough room to turn right onto Big Hill Avenue.
Witnesses who saw Hairston’s reckless driving guided police officers to Saddlebrook Apartments where he had parked his vehicle and was attempting to walk away, according to the report.
At his change-of-plea hearing, Hairston’s attorney said the defendant did not remember much about the incident.
“... I guess I blacked out,” Hairston told the judge. “And when I woke up, I was on the other side of the road.”
Hairston received a first-degree wanton endangerment charge for each of the occupants of the two vehicles he struck.
Hairston also pleaded guilty to aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol (second offense). He refused to take a Breathalyzer test when he was arrested.
“I drank four beers,” Hairston told the judge.
Smith disputed his statement, noting that there was an open container of whiskey in Hairston’s vehicle.
“...And he peed on himself so the four beers seems a bit sketchy,” Smith said.
Logue suspended Hairston’s driver’s license for a year.
The prosecution asked that three misdemeanor counts of leaving the scene of an accident and an open alcoholic beverage in a vehicle violation against Hairston be dismissed.
Sarah Hogsed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-6694.