By DON O'BRIEN
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
A Quincy teen was sentenced Wednesday to probation for aggravated battery and driving under the influence.
Damien M. Baughman, 18, will spend the next 24 months on probation. He pleaded guilty to both charges July 23 in exchange for a sentence of probation. This is his first felony conviction. Without the negotiation, he could have been sentenced to up to five years in prison on the aggravated battery charge and a year in jail on the misdemeanor DUI charge.
Baughman was arrested at 5:16 a.m. Nov. 2 after a series of hit-and run accidents on Quincy's south side. Quincy police were called to the area of 15th and Jefferson. Baughman had been detained by neighbors after his 2000 Chevrolet Blazer hit a vehicle in the 800 block of South 15th. An investigation led to numerous other vehicles that had been struck in an area from South 15th and Jefferson to South Ninth and Payson Avenue.
Baughman failed a field sobriety test after he was taken to police headquarters. He underwent a breathlyzer test and recorded a 0.246 blood-alcohol content level, which is more than three times the legal limit. According to the police report, Baughman admitted to drinking a fifth of Jack Daniel's.
Adams County Assistant State's Attorney Gary Farha said Baughman tried to leave the police station during the booking process and struck an officer on the right shoulder with the back of his left hand.
"The DUI is the more serious offense here because of the damage he caused," Farha said.
Farha said the state went along with the probation recommendation because of Baughman's age and his lack of criminal history.
"I can't stress how serious a matter this is," Farha said.
Baughman's attorney, Don Heck, said his client has a problem with alcohol.
"At 18, he needs help," Heck said. "He is a severe alcoholic."
Baughman has been arrested and charged twice with illegal possession of alcohol as a minor in the last two months. The first one offense came Sept. 22, and the second Oct. 27. Baughman was sent to a residential treatment program Wednesday night.
"That is a step, but it's a baby step," Heck said. "The next time he comes before a judge, he's going to the penitentiary. ... He has to get his act together."
Baughman admitted that he is a different person after he has been drinking.
"Sober, I'm nothing like that," he said. "When I drink, I change. I don't think, and all of my inhibitions go out the window."
Mays agreed to the negotiated plea.
"This could be a lot more serious than it could have been," he told Baughman. "The DUI could have caused injury to yourself or someone else."
Mays also sentenced Baughman to 90 days in the Adams County Jail but stayed the sentence. He gave him credit for seven days already served.
Baughman has been free since posting $300 bond Nov. 8. He will have to pay more than $600 in restitution, including $500 to the Quincy Police Department.