By NIKKI YOUNK
IRON MOUNTAIN - An Iron Mountain teen has accepted a plea deal on charges alleging that he seriously injured two of his passengers while driving drunk last year in the Merriman area of Breitung Township.
Nikki Younk/Daily News Photo
Joshua Johnson, left, appears in Dickinson County Circuit Court for a plea hearing with his attorney Daniel Anderson. Johnson faces sentencing in May on one felony count of operating while intoxicated causing serious injury and one misdemeanor count of operating while intoxicated.
Joshua Amani Johnson, 19, pleaded no contest in Dickinson County Circuit Court on Monday to one felony count of operating while intoxicated causing serious injury and one misdemeanor count of operating while intoxicated.
Originally, he had faced two felony counts of operating while intoxicated causing serious injury.
Johnson's defense attorney Daniel Anderson explained that his client was entering no contest pleas instead of guilty pleas based on the potential for civil liability and the fact that alcohol was involved.
"My client does not remember a lot of the incident," he said.
Dickinson County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Carl Downing laid out the terms of the plea agreement. He will recommend a delayed sentence as long as Johnson serves at least five months in jail and at least two years of probation, submits to an alcohol assessment and treatment, pays his victims restitution for medical bills, dental bills, physical therapy bills, and lost wages, and writes letters of apology to both victims.
Johnson still faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison when he is sentenced on May 6.
The charges against Johnson stem from a Sept. 15, 2013 incident in Breitung Township.
According to the criminal complaint in the case and information from the Dickinson County Sheriff's Department, Johnson was operating a Ford F350 pickup truck on the Merriman Truck Trail near Sportsmen's Club Road.
He was driving erratically when he lost control of the vehicle, which struck a tree and overturned.
Johnson and two of his passengers, who are both 19-year-olds from the Iron Mountain-Kingsford area, were transported to Dickinson County Memorial Hospital for treatment of injuries.
The complaint stated that the front seat passenger suffered from a dislocated left shoulder, broken right wrist, and several broken teeth, while the back seat passenger sustained a broken nose, broken right ankle, and ligament damage in the right knee.
Johnson had a blood alcohol concentration of .09 and tested positive for cannabinoids and amphetamines, according to the complaint.
Nikki Younk's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.