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A Williamsburg man received a 12-month sentence for an alcohol-involved car crash in February that left two passengers injured.
Kevin Lee Liechti, 32, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol charge as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.
Liechti had initially been charged with felony maiming by DUI for the accident that occurred Feb. 22 on Oakland Drive off Richmond Road in Toano.
While driving after a night of drinking Feb. 22, Liechti’s car began to skid off the icy roadway and into a tree. The vehicle began to spin and hit a second tree, causing it to become airborne before landing perpendicular to the roadway.
Neither of the two passengers were wearing seat belts at the time. One passenger was thrown within the car and suffered minor injuries. The other passenger was ejected from the car and sustained a concussion, four broken ribs and bruises and abrasions.
Liechti was wearing a seat belt and suffered minor injuries.
Both passengers were transported to Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News.
Officers responding to the scene smelled the odor of alcohol on Liechti’s breath and determined he had a blood alcohol level of .11, over Virginia’s legal limit of .08.
During the sentencing hearing, Liechti testified he and two friends spent the evening of Feb. 22 out drinking after suffering a personal tragedy.
Liechti said the crash was the result of a “bad decision,” and was exacerbated by alcohol dependency and post-traumatic stress disorder developed during his deployment in Afghanistan as a member of the U.S. Army.
Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Judge Michael McGinty said he believed Liechti was remorseful about the incident, but punishment had to be levied.
“Most of the time, [DUI is] in the abstract … but in this case, someone was hurt and was hurt pretty badly,” McGinty said.
McGinty sentenced Liechti to 12 months in jail, with 10 months and 20 days suspended. He also ordered Liechti to complete Virginia’s Alcohol Safety Action Program and assessed him a $1,000 fine.