Megabus driver sentenced to 77 days in jail following OWI

BY DI STAFF | FEBRUARY 17, 2012 6:30 AM

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A former MegaBus driver from Chicago was sentenced to 77 days in the Johnson County Jail on Thursday.

Carl Smiley, 52, was charged with second-offense OWI in October 2011 after a state trooper pulled him over on Interstate 80 for failing to maintain a lane, according to a police complaint. Smiley was reportedly driving a MegaBus westbound, transporting people from Chicago to Iowa City and Des Moines.

Upon contact with the trooper, Smiley allegedly smelled strongly of alcohol and admitted he had been drinking. He failed field-sobriety testing and was placed under arrest, according to the complaint.

Assistant Johnson County Attorney Jude Pannell said it is difficult to imagine a case in which aggravated factors are more profound, noting that Smiley's .120 blood-alcohol content was significantly higher than the legal limit of .04 for drivers of commercial vehicles, and the highway speeds in which Smiley was traveling.

Sixth District Associate Judge Stephen Gerard ordered Smiley serve 365 days in jail, with all but 77 days suspended, meaning he will be allowed to return to Illinois and remain on probation after serving 77 days. Gerard said he thinks the state's recommendation was appropriate because all 77 passengers that were on the bus should know they factored into the penalty Smiley pays.

He also ordered Smiley serve a two-year probation and pay a $1,875 fine, plus surcharges and court costs.

Pannell said a suspended sentence is typically ordered so a judge can impose some or all of a sentence if terms of probation are violated. He said he believes Smiley's commercial driver's license will be revoked permanently, but he will likely get his regular driver's license back in the future.

A second offense OWI is an aggravated misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in prison.

— by Beth Bratsos

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