Plea deal set for alleged drunken driver
The man accused of driving drunk before crashing his van and severely injuring two children last December accepted a plea bargain Monday from prosecutors.
John Wiversoll pleaded “no contest” to two charges of child endangerment causing great bodily injury. If the plea is accepted by the judge next month, four counts of driving under the influence and one count of child endangerment will be dropped.
The lengthiest sentence Wiversoll would serve would be 13 years and four months in prison.
“John has a huge sense of remorse that this happened,” said Wiversoll’s Bay Area attorney, Rick Kernodle. “He is prepared to accept whatever sentence the court will hand down.”
According to police and witness accounts, Wiversoll crashed his van in Alta Sierra on Dec. 21, 2003, while driving 10-year-old Billy Rose and 11-year-old Emily Rose to a sleepover with his son. Wiversoll and the Rose children were seriously injured.
Wiversoll’s blood-alcohol level was recorded at about five times the legal limit, according to police reports.
The Rose family was not present for Monday’s hearing, in which Judge Albert P. Dover asked Wiversoll to confirm that he knew the agreement he was making and was thereby admitting guilt to the crimes. Wiversoll said he understood.
Deputy District Attorney Dave Walters said earlier that even if Wiversoll had pleaded guilty to all of the charges he faced, he would have received the same prison sentence.
Each of the child endangerment charges has a maximum prison time of six years. Each of the “causing great bodily injury” enhancements adds three years’ prison time.
However, because of California sentencing guidelines, Wiversoll could only be given two years and four months for the second child endangerment count.
Kernodle said he is expecting the actual sentence to be less than the maximum of 13 years and four months.
“It was never a case that was going to go to trial,” he said. “(Wiversoll) wants it to be over.”
Wiversoll is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 27.
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