Brent serving jail time
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URBANA — Illinois defensive lineman Josh Brent is spending part of his summer vacation in the Champaign County jail.
Brent, 21, whose last known local address was in the 1600 block of East Florida Avenue, Urbana, pleaded guilty June 2 to misdemeanor driving under the influence, admitting he was driving while drunk on Feb. 21 in Urbana.
Assistant State's Attorney Chris Kanis said an Illinois State trooper who was southbound on Lincoln Avenue saw Brent pull out of an apartment complex and head south doing 45 mph in a 30 mph zone.
The trooper stopped Brent about 1:30 a.m. that day at the corner of University and Coler avenues in Urbana. He failed field sobriety tests and was arrested after a breathalyzer recorded his blood-alcohol level at 0.11 percent. A motorist in Illinois is presumed intoxicated with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent.
Kanis said Brent told the trooper he had consumed two drinks at a campus bar and didn't have his driver's license on him. His license was suspended at the time, Kanis said, and he was wanted on a warrant out of Livingston County for driving under suspension.
In an agreement worked out between Kanis and Brent's attorney, Tony Novak of Urbana, and endorsed by Judge Chase Leonhard, Brent was sentenced to two years of probation and 60 days in the county jail. He started the sentence June 2 and with credit for good time will be out in 30 days.
Brent was also ordered to perform 200 hours of public service, pay a $1,000 fine, and attend a victim impact panel in which people who have lost loved ones or caused harm by driving drunk tell their stories to those convicted of DUI.
"He was totally ready to take these consequences, which I think a lot of people would have balked at," Novak said Wednesday. "He's sitting in the county jail right now and he has to do a month of real time in there. He accepted the responsibility, accepted the consequences without any hesitation. He understood what he had to do and he's doing it."
Brent, a defensive lineman who had 34 tackles last season, was expected to play a key role on Ron Zook's defense in the fall.
After the incident, Zook suspended Brent, a News-Gazette All-Stater from Bloomington Central Catholic, indefinitely.
Zook will determine Brent's status for the 2009 season when the legal system runs its course.
"He's my client, but I can also say he's a great guy. I expect he's going to be an asset to the UI. There's no question in my mind that he deserves a second chance there."