Woman gets 5 years in aggravated DUI case

Woman gets 5 years in aggravated DUI case

URBANA — A Champaign woman whose drunken driving severely injured a man more than a year ago has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Dawn D. Morris, 41, who listed an address in the 800 block of West Harvard Street, will have to spend at least four years and three months in prison for aggravated driving under the influence under truth-in-sentencing.

Champaign County Judge John Kennedy sentenced Morris Monday. She pleaded guilty in July to felony aggravated driving under the influence, admitting that on June 16, 2012, while driving drunk, she hit Oliver Brize, 36, who was in the 200 block of West Vine Street in Champaign. She also pleaded guilty to a second misdemeanor DUI that occurred in November 2012 and was sentenced to a year in jail. However, the judge ordered that the sentences run at the same time.

Champaign County court records show that Brize was hit about 2 a.m. on June 12, 2012, by a westbound car that was weaving from curb to curb. He apparently didn't remember anything about the collision initially other than sitting on the curb in front of his house.

He suffered a collapsed lung, rib and back fractures and the skin on the top of his head was nearly pulled off from hitting the windshield, according to information supplied the judge at the time of the guilty plea. Witnesses told police that a person got out of the car, then got back in and sped off.

About 12 hours later, Morris appeared at the Champaign County jail asking to speak to someone about an accident in which she'd been involved. She admitted that she had been drinking shots and Long Island iced teas — a mixed drink containing five kinds of alcohol — at the High Dive in downtown Champaign before heading home early that morning. The person she hit went up on the hood and windshield of her car.

In the other DUI, Morris admitted she was driving north on Neil Street just south of Kirby Avenue about 2:15 a.m. on Nov. 25, 2012, when she was clocked going 56 mph in a 35 mph zone. After performing poorly on field sobriety tests, she was arrested and found to have a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent. She admitted that she had consumed tequila and beer prior to being stopped.

Court records show that Morris had numerous petty traffic offenses dating to 1996 and two misdemeanor criminal convictions for driving under suspension and battery. She told court officials she has physical problems for which she takes medication and suffers from depression.

Assistant State's Attorney Elizabeth Dornik recommended a six-year sentence for Morris while her attorney, Baku Patel of Urbana, asked for probation. Morris apologized to Brize, who was not present for the hearing.

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