Fourth District Judge Melissa Moody told Cheyenne Schroeder-Courtois, 31, she can have her conviction for aggravated driving under the influence wiped from her record if she successfully completes her 10 years of probation. If she doesnt, shell have to serve two to 10 years in prison that Moody suspended during a sentencing hearing Tuesday.
Schroeder-Courtois, who was taken into custody following the hearing, will spend eight days in jail and will have to perform 20 days on a work crew or completing community service. She was given credit for two days she already spent in jail.
This is still a very serious crime and that 10 years is a long time, Moody said.
Schroeder-Courtois was arrested Dec. 2, 2012, after driving off Northview Street, striking a large landscaping rock, going through the St. Marks School parking lot and rolling several times across Cole Road. The wreck happened during the evening after she had bought groceries at the Winco store on West Fairview Avenue.
Her daughter, Shaundra, was ejected from the vehicle and spent 10 days in a coma and two months in the hospital. She recovered from her injuries and is now a straight-A student in junior high school.
Schroeder-Courtois was on a number of prescription medications for several serious medical conditions, defense attorney Brett Fox told the judge. That afternoon, she took a tablet of Norco, a mixture of acetaminophen and hydrocodone used to treat moderate to severe pain. She took another pill at Winco for a migraine headache and an abscessed tooth.
Patients who use Norco are warned it can cause drowsiness and are urged not to drive.
Fox told Moody his client, who didnt have a previous criminal record, did not feel impaired while shopping or while driving the short distance home.
We dont know exactly what caused her to black out, whether it was a grand mal seizure or taking the Norco pill as prescribed, Fox said.
Schroeder-Courtois apologized to Moody and said the wreck is constantly on her mind.
I think about this every day, Schroeder-Courtois said. I know I did wrong.
Shaundra told the judge her mom had a seizure before the accident and that she has always had the best interests of herself, her younger brother and baby sister in mind.
All we want is our mom, Shaundra said, pleading for Moody to not send her to jail. Shes always been there for us and never wanted this to happen.
Schroeder-Courtois had earlier dealt with the death of her husband, U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Matthew Courtois, 22, who died Sept. 20, 2009, during a non-combat incident in Kuwait.
Fox sought the 30-day jail sentence the minimum for the crime and said he was pleased with the judges choice. He said Moody took extra time to order mental health evaluations to ensure she had all the information possible before rendering her sentencing decision.
I have a lot of faith in Judge Moody. She clearly spent a lot of time thinking about this sentence and she really cares, he said. I think the minimum was appropriate in this case.
Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Scott Bandy, who had asked for a longer minimum jail term, said he wasnt upset with the sentence. The judge took everything into consideration, he said.
Schroeder-Courtois will only have to serve eight days in the Ada County Jail right away. She was given credit for two days she spent in jail after her arrest, and will be able to serve the remaining 20 days through a combination of work crew or community service.
John Sowell: 377-6423, Twitter: @IDS_Sowell