With the blessing of the victim, a former Lexington police officer serving time for hitting a woman with his car was released from prison last week.
Keith Todd, 44, was released from Blackburn Correctional Complex on Friday, the same day that Fayette Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine granted shock probation and early release.
On March 15, 2012, Todd was under the influence of alcohol and zolpidem, an insomnia medicine, when he turned onto the Legacy Trail walking path and drove his 2001 Mercedes for at least a third of a mile, striking Penny Bentley of Lexington.
Bentley was walking with a friend, Paula Schrecker, according to court documents. Bentley was taken to the hospital with serious injuries; Schrecker 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 evidence and four counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud. In January, Goodwine sentenced Todd to eight years in prison.
On Friday, Goodwine considered a defense motion for shock probation during a five-minute hearing. Among the letters submitted to the judge was one from Bentley.
It reads: "This is to formally let you know I am in favor of shock probation for Keith Todd. I forgive him for the accident and the pain he has caused me and my family. It is important to me for him to have the opportunity to go back to his family; they need him and I support that. I wish him the best."
Todd also wrote the judge a handwritten letter, which concludes: "It is my ultimate goal to prove to you, to my family and to all parties involved that I am a changed person and that I'm totally committed to be a better man as I begin the next chapter in my life."
The terms of Todd's probation include that he is to report to his probation officer, attend Narcotics Anonymous/Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and refrain from alcohol use.
Bentley sued Todd last year for severe and permanent bodily injuries, past and future lost wages, and past and future medical expenses.
The defense motion for shock probation said that an agreement had been reached in that lawsuit and that "Mr. Todd is anxious to comply with the terms of the agreement in order to compensate Ms. Bentley for the injuries she received as a result of his conduct. Release from prison would allow him the opportunity to make Ms. Bentley whole as well as help with family expenses that are strained without his assistance."
Todd and his wife, Melissa, have twin sons.
During his time in Blackburn, Todd trained and exercised dogs to ready them for adoption. The dogs had been rescued from the humane society and needed one-on-one attention so they could become good candidates for adoption.