An Ottawa Lake, Mich., man who was one of the drivers involved in a 2010 drunken-driving crash that killed three men was granted early release from prison Thursday by Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Stacy Cook.
Paul Never, 71, was granted judicial release from his four-year prison sentence after serving 18 months. Judge Cook ordered him to spend the first 60 days at the Community Treatment Facility in Toledo followed by four months in the county’s work release program.
Bryan and Suzanne Richardson, of Point Place, whose son Bryan Jr. died in the crash, told the court Never had not spent enough time in prison. Prosecutors also opposed his release.
“I find it unacceptable that you’ve only served six months for each soul, for each child,” Mr. Richardson said. “I miss my son. I don’t know what else to say to you.”
Toledo cousins Bryan Richardson, Jr., 20, and Bradley Richardson, Jr., 21, and their friend Noah McFadden, 23, of Sylvania were killed Oct. 21, 2010, when a car driven by Noel Papenfuse, now 23, of Toledo crashed into Never’s pickup at a high rate of speed on North Detroit Avenue.
Accident reconstructionists determined Mr. Papenfuse was traveling 79 mph in a 45-mph zone when he saw Never backing into the street and applied his brakes. Never, who was leaving Club Chablis, was legally drunk with a blood-alcohol level of 0.13 percent.
Judge Cook said repeatedly that it was a tragedy for all involved, a tragedy with alcohol at its core.
“Everything about this case is avoidable if people don’t drink and drive,” Judge Cook said.
In granting his release from prison, Judge Cook placed Never on community control for five years, during which time he must abstain from drugs and alcohol, attend at least three Alcoholics Anonymous meetings per week, and perform 200 hours of community service. He also must wear an alcohol monitor on his ankle for two years.