Judge declines leniency for combat vet with 6 DWIs

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 July 2017 at 4:09 pm

ALBION – Kevin A. Truesdell, 39, served his country with honor as a sergeant in the U.S. Army, his attorney told Judge James Punch today.

Truesdell, a Murray resident, earned three commendation medals and three achievement medals for his service, his attorney Gary Horton told the judge during sentencing this afternoon.

Truesdell developed a bad alcohol problem and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) after his service.

He was arrested for DWI on Dec. 15 with a blood alcohol content at 0.24 percent, three times the legal limit.

Since his arrest he has completed an alcohol treatment program in the Orleans County Jail. He also completed a 45-day inpatient program with the Canandaigua VA and was diagnosed with PTSD by the VA in Batavia.

“We often see soldiers rise to the occasion in a combat zone, but when they get home their PTSD symptoms break out,” Horton told Judge Punch. “His drinking got out of control when he got home. He was self medicating with alcohol and he struggled.”

Truesdell has spent the past 4 ½ months in the county jail. He was picked as a trustee in the jail, allowed to do some jobs.

Horton asked that Truesdell be sentenced to time served, and be allowed to be on probation and enter alcohol and PTSD treatment programs.

“Kevin Truesdell does not represent a threat to the community at this point, especially if he gets treatment,” Horton said.

Truesdell addressed the judge and apologized for actions that were “dangerous and irresponsible.”

Truesdell said he will re-enroll in treatment programs through the VA.

Punch said he had “utmost respect” for Truesdell for his service in combat.

But the judge said he couldn’t be lenient given Truesdell’s DWIs, and failure on probation. He violated probation in Genesee County with the latest DWI.

“How do I answer the victims of the future DWI victims?” the judge said. “You are going to kill someone. Alcohol is the biggest enemy in your life, more than any Iraqi has ever hurt you.”

The judge sentenced Truesdell to 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison, the maximum sentence as part of a plea deal.

He also lost his driver’s license and will have to install an interlock ignition device when he resumes driving. That device will check his BAC.

“Unfortunately, as decent a person as you are, you are a menace to society in your current condition,” the judge said.

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