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Donald Veach

Donald Veach

A farm mechanic was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Tuesday in Linn County Circuit Court for ramming an agricultural truck into a car in December.

Donald Veach, 57, had pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a weapon and first-degree criminal mischief last month.

Veach initially faced charges of second-degree assault and recklessly endangering another person, but those were dismissed per terms of a negotiated settlement.

The incident happened the night of Dec. 3 in the 33000 block of Dever Conner Drive at a farm owned by Bill Case, where Veach was employed.

The victim told authorities that he had pulled over for a better look at the “super moon” and an argument ensued.

After the initial crash, Veach continued to accelerate and pushed the victim’s Nissan Maxima into a field, prosecutor Michael Wynhausen said.

“The impact sent (the victim) into the passenger seat. He felt that the vehicle was being crushed in on him,” Wynhausen said.

“He felt this was an attempt on his life,” Wynhausen added.

The victim’s vehicle was totaled and the victim was taken to the hospital, developed physical issues, and sought counseling for trauma, according to the prosecution.

Veach was intoxicated at the time of the crime.

Defense attorney Arnold Poole said that the victim had been “run off” the farm before, was essentially trespassing and had an extensive criminal history.

The victim also didn’t believe he was badly injured the night of the crash and had pre-existing medical conditions, Poole added.

Poole asked for probation for Veach. Wynhausen suggested a sentence of three years to Judge Daniel Murphy.

Veach spoke briefly before the court. “I went for the brake. I hit the throttle,” he said.

Murphy scoffed at the explanation.

“I don’t believe for one minute that his foot slipped,” the judge responded.

And Murphy wasn't inclined to give much weight to the argument that the victim was trespassing on the property.

"That in no way justifies the defendant’s conduct," the judge said.

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Kyle Odegard can be reached at kyle.odegard@lee.net, 541-812-6077 or via Twitter @KyleOdegard.

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