Mental health issues a factor in highway chase sentencing

Last updated: August 22. 2014 5:11PM - 777 Views
By - bsemler@civitasmedia.com

James P. Shannon III
James P. Shannon III
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A disabled military veteran who led authorities on a high-speed chase along westbound U.S. Route 40 last year was sentenced to five years of community control Friday.

James P. Shannon III, 40, of West Jefferson, who served in the Persian Gulf War and suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, pled guilty July 21 to failure to comply and aggravated assault in connection with a series of incidents in May 2013.

Judge Nichols implemented the pre-sentence investigation’s recommended sentence Friday in Madison County Common Pleas Court.

Assistant county prosecutor Nick Adkins said mental health factors were considered in the sentencing.

Shannon is currently living in a group home and seeking treatment, according to his attorney, John Belton. Belton said in court that if the conditions of community control were violated, Shannon would surely go to prison.

“If he drops the ball, he needs to go to prison,” Belton said.

Shannon was ordered to undergo evaluations by several psychologists last year to determine his mental stability and ability to stand trial.

The series of incidents that brought Shannon to Madison County began with a crash on Renner Road in western Franklin County about 2 p.m. on May 28. Shannon fled the scene, eventually causing another accident at state Route 142 and U.S. 40 near West Jefferson.

Shannon’s pick-up lost a tire, but continued westbound through the village.

It struck another vehicle on East Main Street, then clipped police officer Matt Stevers as he approached the scene on foot. Stevers was not seriously injured.

Other village police officers and deputies from two counties pursued the truck on U.S. 40 as it sped away on three tires. Speeds reached up to 100 mph during the pursuit, published reports said.

The chase ended when Shannon lost control of his disabled truck and struck a tree in Summerford.

He was treated for minor injuries and later released from a Columbus hospital.

Also in common pleas court Friday:

• Andrew Shaw, 36, of London, attended a community control violation hearing. Shaw pled guilty on Jan. 7 to vandalizing The Gin Mill last fall and was released on a signature bond. He was re-arrested Jan. 19 on misdemeanor charges, including possession of drug paraphernalia and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Shaw was banned from locations that served mainly alcohol, and he reportedly went back to the Gin Mill since his arrest. He is scheduled for an evidentiary hearing Oct. 3.

• Joshua E. Iams, 27, of London, was accused of violating community control for the second time, after admitting he was using heroin. Judge Robert Nichols ordered a $5,000 bond for Iams. Nichols said he was putting Iams in jail for his own protection. Court records showed Iams was sentenced to two years of community control in September, 2013 for heroin possession. He was ordered to avoid future drug use. One week later, London police found Iams unconscious inside a south side home from a heroin overdose.

• Post-release community control for Michael A. Snyder, 67, of Chillicothe, was changed from optional to mandatory during a resentencing hearing. Snyder was incarcerated on charges of gross sexual imposition in 2005.

• Corey A. Wilson, 23, of Chillicothe, was scheduled for an evidentiary hearing Friday for Oct. 10. Wilson was incarcerated for illegal use of minor charges in January, 2013.

• Robert C. McCoy, 23, of London, was sentenced to seven days in jail and a year extension of his two-year community control sentence after he was allegedly found smoking marijuana with a minor. McCoy pled guilty to unlawful sexual conduct with a minor in January 2013.

Brandon Semler can be reached at (740) 852-1616 ext. 1615 or on Twitter @BrandonSemler.

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