Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Stacy Cook challenged a young man whose choice to drink and drive ended his brother’s life to “create a legacy now for you and your brother.”
Judge Cook placed Zachary Fisher, 22, of 2720 106th St. on community control for five years Thursday with the condition that he tell his story to high school students and driver intervention classes.
“You are a young man that has the ability to step up and be the face to these young people and [help them] understand how quickly a decision can go bad,” Judge Cook said.
Fisher pleaded no contest and was found guilty of aggravated vehicular homicide Aug. 8. He was behind the wheel with a blood-alcohol level of 0.14 about 2:30 a.m. Sept. 11, 2012, when he lost control of his car on a curve in the 1600 block of Summit Street and struck two utility poles, shearing off the right side of the car. His younger brother, Eric Fisher, 19, died in the crash.
In framing a sentence for Fisher, Judge Cook said she took into account his family’s feelings.
“I think that there are tragedies that we certainly as parents fear,” she said. “And this would have to be probably one of the worst sequence of events for any family.”
She ordered Fisher to spend six months in the Lucas County Work Release Program followed by nine months wearing an electronic ankle unit that detects alcohol in the wearer’s system.
In addition, she ordered him to undergo any recommended drug, alcohol, or mental health treatment and suspended his driver’s license for three years.
Fisher, when asked if he had anything to say, told the court, “I don’t think anyone could understand how much I regret the decisions I made.”
His attorney, Thomas Stebbins, asked the court to impose probation, saying that Fisher was deeply remorseful, that he’d voluntarily completed a driver intervention program, and that he had no prior criminal record.
“You can’t overturn what happened here,” Mr. Stebbins said. “It’s a horrible thing. He has to live with that.”
Judge Cook said there had been some evidence to indicate the crash may have been caused by another car striking Fisher’s first. She told him not to focus on that, but to own up to the fact that his decision to drink and drive set into motion the chain of events that followed.
“The decision you made is one all of our children make, frankly far too many adults make,” she said. “I am going to impose upon you, Mr. Fisher, to cross over from any kind of uncomfortableness you might have with regard to speaking to being a force and tell you to build some strength within yourself for your brother. This is where you have to put it because for every person you can keep from making this decision, for every person you can impact, you’re potentially saving someone’s life.”
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-213-2134.