Weatherford Democrat

December 16, 2012

Driver on meth gets unique probation


Weatherford Democrat

— By CHRISTIN COYNE

ccoyne@weatherforddemocrat.com



A Granbury woman who severely injured a Weatherford motorcyclist last year and fled the scene while high on methamphetamine received a unique probation sentence Thursday.

Alicia Anne Mitchell, 31, pleaded guilty before a visiting judge last month to charges of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, possession of a controlled substance, more than 1 gram, less than 4 grams, and failure to stop and render aid regarding the June 2, 2011 incident in Weatherford.

Addressing issues raised during testimony at her punishment trial Thursday, 43rd District Judge Trey Loftin gave Mitchell 10 years probation and placed certain conditions on her, including requirements to serve 30 straight days in jail, spend two months without electronics after her release, refrain from coaching students for 18 months and write letters admitting what she did to her family, other community members and the local newspaper.

“We had hoped for a prison sentence but Judge Loftin certainly gave a difficult probation to Ms. Mitchell,” Swain said.

Mitchell, driving a car westbound near the intersection of East Park Avenue and College Park Drive around 4 p.m., reportedly struck a stopped motorcycle and the 24-year-old rider from behind.

The man flipped over the car and landed on the pavement behind the vehicle, police said at the time.

Mitchell’s bumper remained stuck to the motorcycle, and police were able to obtain and broadcast a basic description of the vehicle from the license plate that was left behind. The Weatherford Fire Department, responding to the call, stopped Mitchell in the 600 block of Waco Street.

Bags of methamphetamine labeled with prices in the vehicle were reportedly found.  She was taken to the hospital and had a mandatory blood draw for analysis, which showed a significant amount of methamphetamine in her system, Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain said.

The victim was transported to a hospital in Fort Worth for a serious head injury.

Mitchell elected to have Loftin assess punishment after pleading guilty, and her defense attorney requested deferred adjudication while prosecutors requested prison time, according to Swain.

The district attorney’s office reportedly presented pictures during testimony showing the man’s mangled motorcycle and the windshield of the car where a portion of the man’s scalp was stuck.

They also provided pictures showing the man’s head injury that required 17 staples and numerous stitches and the road rash across his body where his skin had been pulled off, according to Swain.

He still reportedly carries facial scars from the incident.

During testimony, the victim told Loftin that he was in the hospital for a week following the incident and was at home for a couple months after that, Swain said.

Even after returning to work, the man reportedly suffered from severe post-concussion headaches for about a year and continues to have them, though less frequently and severely.

Mitchell testified that she believed she was using cocaine and was at a friend’s college graduation party that got out of hand and lasted several days, Swain said.

Instead of giving her prison time or deferred adjudication, Loftin probated Mitchell’s jail sentences, requiring her to serve 180 days in the county jail as a part of that - 150 days of which will be work-release, according to Swain.

Mitchell is required to pay the victims $8,000 in restitution to cover what costs the insurance company did not and must complete 400 hours of community service, Swain said.

Because the victim was required to spend two months in a stimulus-free environment to prevent seizures after the concussion, Loftin is requiring Mitchell to live at home without electronics for two months after her release from the Parker County Jail.

Mitchell also testified that she told few people about her arrest and continues to serve as a coach for her child’s softball and basketball teams despite the then-pending felony cases, something that concerned those in the courtroom, according to Swain.

Loftin ordered Mitchell to write a letter admitting her actions to her family, to those she’s involved with in coaching or organizations, such as PTA, and to the editor of the newspaper in Hood County, Swain said.

That gives parents the opportunity to make an informed decision, Swain said.