A former Lexington police officer was sentenced to eight years in prison Friday for hitting a woman with his car on Lexingtons Legacy Trail.
Keith Todd was under the influence of alcohol and Zolpidem, an insomnia medication, when he turned onto the walking trail March 15 and drove for at least a third of a mile, police have said. Cars are not permitted on the path.
The white 2001 Mercedes plowed into Lexington resident Penny Bentley as she was walking with a friend, Paula Schrecker, according to court documents. Bentley was taken to the hospital with serious injuries; Shrecker was not hurt.
Todd, who retired from the police department in 2010, pleaded guilty last fall to second-degree assault, DUI, wanton endangerment, tampering with physical evidence and four counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud.
Todd was taken into custody after Fridays hearing in Fayette Circuit Court and lodged in the Fayette County jail. He could eventually be eligible for shock probation, which would commute his sentence after he has served some prison time.
During the hearing, Todd publicly apologized to Bent-ley. She underwent several procedures to treat her injuries , including a broken leg, cracked vertebrae, internal swelling, cuts and bruises.
Bentley tearfully accepted Todds apology and told him that she does not hold a grudge, sentiments echoed in a letter Bentley wrote this week asking Circuit Court Judge Pamela Goodwine to be lenient in Todds sentencing.
I have no hatred, no desire for revenge, Bentley wrote. Some jail time is appropriate, and community service is appropriate.
Bentleys letter was one of four placed in Todds case file in circuit court. Bentley and Schrecker wrote Goodwine asking her to issue a fair but appropriate sentence to Todd.
Seeing Penny catapulted 15-20 feet in the air, striking his vehicle, being thrown to the side of the trail has certainly taken its toll on me emotionally, Schrecker wrote. While my concerns are valid, they pale in comparison to the physical and mental toll it has taken on Penny.
Two acquaintances of Todd, former WVLK-AM 590 radio talk show host Tim Woodburn and Fayette County Pretrial Supervisor Pam OBryan, described Todd as a good man with an addiction problem and asked the judge to consider probation.
Any incarceration handed down by you will break this man down, as he will likely be reduced to solitary confinement in any correctional facility as a former police officer, Woodburns letter said.