The Journal Gazette
Saturday, August 14, 2021 1:00 am

Doctor admits to OWI fatality

Baby died, dad injured in Bluffton collision

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

BLUFFTON – A Bluffton doctor charged with drunken driving that took the life of an infant will spend three years behind bars if a judge accepts a plea agreement. 

Dr. Russel Legreid II, 63, of Roanoke, pleaded guilty Friday in Wells Circuit Court to two of the five counts against him in the Jan. 10, 2020, crash that killed 2-month-old Eliseo Martinez III and maimed the baby's father, Eliseo Martinez Jr.

Legreid pleaded guilty to causing death while operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or more and causing catastrophic injury when operating a motor vehicle with a controlled substance in his system. Both are level four felonies and carry a sentence between two and 12 years.

Legreid was to face a jury starting Monday in a five-day trial. 

Wells County Prosecutor Andrew Carnall told Judge Kenton Kiracofe that Legreid had a alcohol blood level of 0.224% after a blood draw, nearly three times the legal limit of 0.08%. 

The hard-of-hearing Legreid, who wore a face mask, relied on his Fort Wayne attorneys, Jeff Terrill and Bart Arnold, to explain a plea agreement that calls for a six-year sentence, with three years suspended and three years behind bars. Legreid would also lose his driver's license for life.

Legreid, who was to turn himself in to the Wells County Jail before 6 p.m. Friday, will be sentenced Sept. 15. 

The crash occurred at 8:45 a.m. while Legreid was driving his 2019 Toyota Tundra pickup south on Main Street, also known as Indiana 1, and crossed the centerline.

His truck veered into the path of a northbound 2003 Chevrolet Venture minivan. Martinez Jr., 25 at the time of the crash, was taken to a hospital as were the passengers, all children at 6, 5, and 2 months of age. 

The baby was pronounced dead at the hospital. Martinez Jr. appeared in court walking with a cane.   

Martinez Jr., who appeared with other family members, said he'd been advised to avoid making statements. 

Legreid, an otolaryngologist, more commonly known as an ENT, had his physician's license suspended for 90 days last year. It's unclear whether he will lose it.

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