FORT WAYNE – In November 2011, Nicholas Bowers got high and got behind the wheel of his 1999 Mercury Cougar.
Crossing a double-yellow line to pass a car on North River Road, Bowers lost control and crashed into a 1991 Honda CRX driven by Michael Hieber.
The head-on crash knocked Hieber out and left him with broken bones and a hip damaged to such an extent one leg is now shorter than the other.
Last November, prosecutors charged Bowers, 21, with criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon causing injury, criminal recklessness causing injury and causing serious bodily injury while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of a schedule 1 drug. After the crash, a blood draw revealed Bowers was under the influence of marijuana.
Bowers was sentenced Friday in Allen Superior Court to three years in prison and one year on probation.
He pleaded guilty to the charges in January and entered Allen Superior Court’s Drug Court program but withdrew from the program in April, according to court documents.
Hieber and his family gave their permission to the prosecutor’s office to allow Bowers to enter the Drug Court program, Deputy Prosecutor Adam Mildred said.
By giving permission to enter the program, which can drag the case out and could result in less or no jail time, the Hiebers were trying to help Bowers.
He’s chosen to blow off that grace, to blow off that chance, Mildred said.
Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull sentenced Bowers, who apologized to the victims and said he was thankful for the opportunity to be in the Drug Court program.
I’m not sure why you withdrew, Gull said, adding that it was worrisome that when given an opportunity for rehabilitation, Bowers rejected it.
She sentenced him to a total of four years in prison but suspended one year and ordered it to be served on probation. Bowers must pay $60,869 in restitution to the family.