Sebewaing man charged with 13th drunk driving offense pleads
A Sebewaing man is likely heading back to prison after pleading no contest Monday to three felony counts.
Robert Elias, 53, was arrested in December and charged with six crimes, including his 13th count of operating while intoxicated.
As part of the plea agreement, Elias pleaded no contest to operating while intoxicated (third offense), assaulting/resisting/obstructing a police officer and malicious destruction to police or fire property. As part of the plea agreement, misdemeanor chargers of operating while license suspended (second offense), failure to report an accident and open container of alcohol in a vehicle were dismissed.
A Cobbs agreement – an agreement between the prosecuting attorney, judge and defense attorney outlining a likely sentence should a suspect agree to a plea deal – stipulates that the minimum prison sentence Elias receives will not exceed four years.
Conviction of third-offense OWI carries a maximum prison sentence of five years while the malicious destruction of property and assaulting a police officer counts carry possible prison sentences of four and two years in prison, respectively.
The maximum sentences for Elias are enhanced due to his repeat offender status. Michigan statute does not include an OWI count of greater than third offense. But repeat offenders can receive a more severe punishment than maximum guidelines dictate.
At about 9:20 p.m. Dec. 3, Michigan State Police troopers discovered an abandoned vehicle in a northern Akron Township ditch, near the intersection of Liken and Berger roads.
An investigation led troopers to the Sebewaing-area residence of Elias. He was taken into custody for operating under the influence. The suspect became combative while being transported to the Tuscola County Jail, “breaking out the windshield of the patrol vehicle and assaulting the trooper while kicking the windshield and steering wheel,” a press release from the MSP stated.
The trooper – Erich Meggert – was not injured but the rampage resulted in additional felony charges for Elias.
Elias’ most recent OWI charge came in Tuscola County, where he was sentenced to four to 25 years in prison on July 23, 2015. He served a little more than five years and was released on Oct. 23. He racked up six OWI convictions in St. Clair County between 1998 and 2009.
Elias remains in the Tuscola County Jail. His sentencing hearing is pending.