By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — A Warsaw man will serve the majority of a 2 1/2 year sentence through probation after hitting a pedestrian with his vehicle in April 2019.
Nathan Scott Nibert, 34, 2041 Lynn Lane, Warsaw, was charged with causing serious bodily injury while operating a motor vehicle, a level 6 felony. A misdemeanor charge for operating a vehicle with a controlled substance in the body was dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Nibert was sentenced in Kosciusko Superior Court Three on Tuesday, April 27.
At 1:38 p.m. April 10, 2019, Kosciusko County Sheriff’s officers were dispatched to North CR 300E, south of East Defreese Road, Milford, regarding a vehicle and pedestrian accident.
According to court documents, James R. Roder was walking with a friend south on CR 300E when Roder was struck by a 2006 Pontiac Grand Am driven by Nibert. Nibert told officers he went to answer his phone when he hit Roder. He also told officers he had smoked marijuana the night before the accident.
After the accident, Roder was flown by medical helicopter to Fort Wayne with chest injuries.
During court proceedings, Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Brad Voelz asked Kosciusko Superior Court Three Judge Chad Miner to treat Nibert’s sentencing “with the strictest attitude it deserves.”
“There’s no good reason ever to operate a vehicle while in an altered state,” said Voelz. “And when it happens and they get caught, they should be punished. But when someone gets hurt, the consequences should be much more severe.”
Defense Attorney David Kolbe asked the court to consider probation with Nibert’s sentence, stating that Nibert was approved for the county’s community corrections program.
“The reality is he had metabolites in his system and he shouldn’t have,” said Kolbe.
In court, Nibert said on the day of the accident, he was experiencing vision issues due to a medical problem.
“I accept full responsibility for what happened,” said Nibert. “I feel so bad. I think about it every day.”
For causing serious bodily injury while operating a motor vehicle, Judge Miner gave Nibert a 2 1/2 year sentence, with three months of the sentence executed and the rest to be served through probation. The executed portion can be served through the county’s work release or community corrections programs.
Nibert’s driver’s license was also suspended for one year.