WILMINGTON — A local prosecutor was fined $100 and ordered to pay $115 court costs after pleading guilty to reckless operation, a fourth-degree misdemeanor, in Clinton County Municipal Court.
Lindsey Fleissner, 29, of Wilmington, an assistant prosecutor with the Clinton County Prosecutor’s Office, had been charged with two different counts of operating a vehicle under the influence as well as charges of fictitious registration and failure to control.
Special prosecutor Fred Beery asked Clinton County Municipal Judge Mike Daugherty to drop three of the charges against her and to amend the remaining OVI charge to reckless operation.
Daugherty agreed and ordered the fine as well as assessing court costs and four points to Fleissner’s license.
During the plea hearing, Fleissner and her attorney, Scott Evans, said a medical condition was the cause of her erratic driving – an incident of which resulted in a parked truck getting hit in the parking lot of a Rombach Avenue business on May 1.
Evans told the court Fleissner has narcolepsy, which the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke defines as a chronic brain disorder involving poor control of sleep-wake cycles, including “irresistible bouts of sleep that can strike at any time.”
Evans also said Fleissner had chemical tests done at Clinton Memorial Hospital after the incident. Those tests indicated Fleissner had no illegal substances in her system.
“There’s really no evidence of any chemical impairment,” Evans said. “I believe both cases were the result of a medical event or condition, namely narcolepsy, that she continues to undergo treatment for.”
Evans said an ER physician also wrote that Fleissner’s behavior was consistent with narcolepsy.
“It is not a crime to have a medical condition,” Daugherty said, before sentencing Fleissner. “It is in an offense to operate in a reckless manner, and you’ve pled guilty to doing so.
“I will note you are getting absolutely no special treatment,” Daugherty continued. “Earlier today, someone … also had a similar sentence. I think there was a heavier fine, but that person had some substances involved – you didn’t.”
Prior to sentencing, Fleissner said, “This whole thing has been incredibly difficult, humiliating,” and that she’s been trying to live a normal life since being diagnosed with narcolepsy.
“These two incidents were absolutely terrible,” Fleissner said. “I never would have gotten behind the wheel if I thought that something like this could have happened. … I’m terribly sorry that this even happened.”
Fleissner said she is visiting her doctor more, isn’t driving and doesn’t intend to drive “until we get this straightened out.”
Fleissner also apologized for any embarrassment she may have caused.
Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-382-2574, ext. 2510 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.