BLUFFTON – A doctor was sentenced to three years of a six-year sentence behind bars after he drunkenly crashed his vehicle into another, killing an infant and severely injuring the driver.
Eliseo Martinez, who is still recovering from injuries, told a judge the sentence is not enough for the crimes Dr. Russel Jerome Legreid II committed.
Martinez's son, Eliseo Martinez III, died because of his injuries after the Jan. 10, 2020, crash on Main Street in Bluffton.
Legreid, 63, of Roanoke pleaded guilty to causing death while operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or more and causing catastrophic injury when operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, both of which are felonies that carry maximum sentences of 12 years.
Legreid entered a plea agreement that dropped the three other charges he was facing. The sentencing included in the plea agreement is what Wells Circuit Court Judge Kent Kiracofe accepted – three years in the Indiana Department of Correction with three years of probation following.
Legreid received sentences of six years with three years suspended on both charges, but the terms are to be served simultaneously, as stated in the plea agreement. His driver's license will also be suspended for two years. His Indiana medical license was listed as active on the state's website Wednesday evening.
During the emotional 45-minute hearing, Eliseo and Brianna Martinez both said they have forgiven Legreid. However, Eliseo questioned the sentence later in the hearing, saying he thinks Legreid should get maximum sentences on both charges and should have to serve both sentences back to back.
Eliseo Martinez explained the extent of his injuries, which included “destroyed” knee caps, two broken femurs and breaks throughout his spine and shoulders. He now lives in daily pain through his legs, one of which almost could not be saved.
In addition to the physical injuries, the Martinezes have emotional injuries no parent should have to endure, Eliseo Martinez said. He wasn't able to be at his son's funeral because of the severity of his injuries.
For Eliseo Martinez III, Legreid took his entire life, Martinez said of his 2-month-old son.
Brianna Martinez shared the pain of holding her dying infant at the scene of the crash while their two young children stood by. She said she had to do everything alone without her husband in the weeks after the crash, including planning their child's funeral services.
She said she used to think about all of the bad things she wanted to say to Legreid, but she has had time to grow and forgive him.
“I don't want to hurt you like that anymore,” she said.
Lauren Youmans, Legreid's adult daughter, apologized on behalf of her father and told the Martinez family her family will continually pray for them for the rest of their lives. She cried as the Martinezes said they have forgiven her father.
Before accepting the agreement, Kiracofe said Legreid's pre-sentence investigation report showed years of substance abuse. Legreid had the education, means and resources to address his abuse issues earlier and chose not to.
“It took this tragedy to address that,” the judge said.