The parents of an Akron woman seriously injured in a drunken driving crash in August urged leniency Friday afternoon for the man responsible for the crash.
They said Vince Yurick, the woman’s husband who was an Akron police sergeant at the time, was at his wife’s hospital bedside as soon as he was able after the crash and has helped with her rehabilitation every day since.
“He’s paid a great price for this and will continue to pay a great price,” said Ron Buchanan, the father of Yurick’s wife, Glynn, during Yurick’s sentencing in Summit County Common Pleas Court. “Without him, I don’t know what would happen to her. She lives for him. He lives for her.”
Judge Alison McCarty listened to the parents’ wishes and gave Yurick an 18-month suspended jail sentence and two years of probation. She also ordered that he complete a three-day DUI program and undergo counseling.
“I wouldn’t want to be in your position, Mr. Yurick,” McCarty told him. “You’re going to have a hard road ahead of you. … Everything you have done leading up to now is deserving of this opportunity.”
Yurick, 46, of Akron, a 19-year police veteran, pleaded guilty this month to aggravated vehicular assault, a fourth-degree felony, and operating a vehicle while under the influence, a first-degree misdemeanor.
Under a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped a third-degree felony charge of aggravated vehicular assault.
The case was handled by a special prosecutor, Scott Salisbury, who is an assistant prosecutor in Medina County. Salisbury made no recommendation Friday on Yurick’s sentence.
Yurick resigned from the police department March 24. With a felony conviction, he would be prohibited from handling a handgun and could no longer be an officer.
Yurick was driving about 9 p.m. Aug. 7 when he lost control of his vehicle and smashed into a tree on Canterbury Circle, according to reports. The crash injured Yurick and his wife, 44, who sustained brain injuries.
Glynn Yurick didn’t attend the sentencing Friday.
Ron Buchanan said his daughter initially was in a coma. He said she began to show signs of improvement after she went home and was under her husband’s care. He said Glynn is walking and her speech has improved. He said Vince took a video of her last week mowing their lawn.
“It is just a miracle,” Buchanan said. “From the time she was injured, Vince changed her diapers. He attended her, loved her, cared for her … beyond our imagination.”
Maryanne Buchanan, Glynn’s mother, said she hated her son-in-law after the crash, but changed her mind after seeing the care he gave her daughter.
“I love him and appreciate how much he loves my daughter,” she said.
Joseph Gorman, one of Yurick’s attorneys, asked McCarty to consider giving his client probation, rather than up to 18 months in prison. He also asked her to consider allowing Yurick driving privileges for work so that he can support his family.
Yurick said he is ashamed and embarrassed. He said the crash devastated his family and his wife’s family, including their four children.
“I take full responsibility for that,” he said. “I look forward to getting my life back in order, so I can be a husband, a father and a man to take care of my family again.”
McCarty said she understands Yurick’s remorse, but his bad decision must come with consequences.
“What if it had been a 5-year-old girl standing in front of that tree?” the judge asked. “What would justice call for then? How is that different from what justice calls for now?”
McCarty, however, noted Yurick’s exemplary record with the police department, support in the community and his positive actions since the crash in caring for his wife.
McCarty ordered that Yurick wear a bracelet for 180 days to monitor whether he drinks alcohol and undergo a substance-abuse evaluation. She suspended his license for one year, but made this retroactive to the date of the crash when he had an administrative license suspension. She granted him driving privileges for work and doctor’s appointments.
Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705, email@example.com and on Twitter: @swarsmithabj .