One crash, two tragedies: The price of drunk driving – Lebanon Reporter

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Partly cloudy. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. Low 57F. Winds light and variable.
Updated: May 14, 2022 @ 11:15 pm
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Doug and Amy Byrum are shown with their sons in this family photo posted as part of a GoFundMe page at the time of Doug’s catastrophic motorcycle accident caused by a drunk driver.
Mary Villanueva

Assistant Editor
Doug and Amy Byrum are shown with their sons in this family photo posted as part of a GoFundMe page at the time of Doug’s catastrophic motorcycle accident caused by a drunk driver.
Mary Villanueva
Mary Villanueva was celebrating her 21st birthday with a three-day bender in April 2020.
Douglas Byrum was out for an evening ride on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
Villanueva turned left across Byrum’s path, and life as he knew it ended.
Villanueva, now just 23, is paying for it with six years of her life and a debt of $50,000.
Byrum will never fully recover from his injuries. Police found him lying unresponsive on the pavement in the 200 block of S. Ford Road, according to court records.
He suffered respiratory failure, several fractured ribs, an open skull fracture, extensive facial and jaw fractures, and more injuries, doctors reported. He was diagnosed with cognitive and neurobehavioral dysfunction and movement disorder in October 2020, police reported.
“Doug Byrum is a 51-year-old lawyer with severe TBI (traumatic brain injury) due to a motorcycle crash … shunted hydrocephalus, with good recovery unlikely …,” a clinical note from the October medical appointment read. Byrum owned and operated Byrum Law in Zionsville before the accident, but the office closed a few months after the crash.
Villanueva, 21 years and three days old at the time, was unhurt. She admitted that she’d been drinking heavily since her birthday two days earlier and drank wine the day she turned in front of Bynum and he hit the side of her car, investigators reported.
Villanueva’s blood alcohol concentration, BAC, registered at .168 two hours after the crash, according to court records. A BAC of .08 is over the legal limit for driving in Indiana.
Someone with a blood alcohol concentration of .13 to .15 may suffer gross impairment of motor control, blurred or lost vision, and feel anxious, according to a Stanford University study. Someone with a BAC of .16 to .20 may also feel very ill at ease, feel nauseous or vomit, and may appear “sloppy drunk.”
Villanueva, of Zionsville, pleaded guilty in late April to operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing catastrophic injury, a level 4 felony.
Hoosier prosecutors only had two charge options in OWI cases involving injury before catastrophic injury was added in 2019.
There was OWI causing serious bodily injury, from which one may or may not recover, and which carried a maximum sentence of three years. Or, there was OWI causing death. There was nothing in between, Boone County Prosecutor Kent Eastwood said.
“The new catastrophic injury law has been very helpful,” Eastwood said. “He’s alive, however, this is catastrophic in that it changed his life forever. They were life-altering injuries from which there is no recovery.”
Byrum is no longer able to work – not as an attorney – not at all. He and his wife Amy have four sons. To learn more of their journey since the crash, visit the website at https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/amydougbyrum.
“This is why drunk driving is one of the worst crimes,” Eastwood said. “Someone gets behind the wheel having had too much to drink, and it can turn into this. It can happen to anybody.”
Boone Superior Court Judge Bruce Petit sentenced Villanueva to six years with the Indiana Department of Correction. The first three years will be served in prison with three years of probation to follow. Villanueva is now housed in the Boone County Jail in Lebanon as she awaits placement in the state’s prison system.
The DOC estimates that with time off for good behavior, she will be released in July 2024. She will be 25 then.
Petit also ordered her to pay Byrum $50,000 in restitution.
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