MADD: Jail term for deaths 'outrageous'

By Deanna Hohler Bottar Record-Courier staff write Published:

On Monday, the 20-year-old denied in Portage County Common Pleas Court that he was under the influence of alcohol when he went left of center, striking another vehicle head-on.

"I would not have gotten behind the wheel if I didn't know I had control of the car," the Sagamore Hills man said before he was handed two six-month jail sentences, which will be served concurrently. "I felt very, very capable of driving the car."

Glozer pleaded guilty last month to two counts of involuntary manslaughter, both third-degree felonies, acknowledging in his plea that he was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash.

Two of Glozer's friends, David T. Stright, 19, of Aurora, and Christopher P. Menhart, 20, of Macedonia, died as a result of the incident.

Glozer's blood-alcohol content measured 0.089 percent during tests conducted more than three hours after the crash. Ohio's legal blood-alcohol content for adults is 0.10 percent. For people younger than age 21, like Glozer, the limit is 0.02 percent.

Judge Joseph Kainrad, who had the option of sentencing Glozer to a definite term of one to five years in prison, said there was "nothing that would justify arguing for the maximum in this case." The judge also handed down a mandatory driver's license suspension.

Assistant Portage County Prosecutor Eugene Muldowney had recommended Glozer serve five-year prison sentences for the crime, while Glozer's defense attorney, Joseph Giulitto, had suggested Glozer was a prime candidate for probation.

Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci expressed disappointment in the sentence, saying a local jail term does not meet the Ohio Revised Code's sentencing standards, which stipulate prison sentences are meant to "punish the offender and protect the public from future crime by the offender and others."

The Portage County Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving agreed.

"The sentence handed down by Judge Kainrad today is outrageous, meaningless and contains no justice for anyone," Linda Lauck, Portage County MADD president, said. "This sentence has horribly failed the Stright and Menhart families, has demeaned the seriousness of the offender's conduct and the impact it has had upon the victims, has failed the citizens of Portage County and has failed Michael Glozer."

Glozer, who testified Monday that he does not have a drug or alcohol problem but admitted to attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, said he was unaware his blood-alcohol content might have exceeded the legal limit for adults at the time of the crash.

"I would do everything in my power and everything in my being to stop this incident from every happening again," Glozer said, explaining how the crash has brought him closer to God, his girlfriend and his family.

"I never meant for any of this to happen," he said to the victims' families who were present in court. "I'm not God, but if I was, I'd bring your sons back. It might sound strange, but you're not the only ones to miss them. I think about them everyday, probably every hour."

Glozer admitted to smoking marijuana in June as "an escape route" to his troubles, which began in the early morning hours of Oct. 31, 1996, when the crash occurred on S.R. 43 in Franklin Township.

The victims' families said they were outraged Glozer will serve a total of six months behind bars in a county jail for the deaths of their loved ones.

"I cannot believe that two boys died in an accident and the gentleman gets sentenced to six months for two lives," said David Stright of his son's death. "That's unbelievable."

Christopher Menhart's father, Mike, said he is hurt Glozer won't serve a longer sentence in jail or any prison time.

"We were betrayed," Menhart said. "We were told one thing and then another happened."

Menhart said the guilty plea Glozer entered to the involuntary manslaughter charges should have sent Glozer to prison. Two aggravated vehicular homicide charges against Glozer were dismissed when Glozer pleaded guilty to the involuntary manslaughter charges.

"What this judge is telling me is I can get drunk, come there when Mike Glozer is released and run him down and just get six months in jail," Menhart said. "This is crazy."

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