Iraq War vet avoids prison for Newton DUI death

Published: 28 March 2014

An Iraq War veteran avoided more than five years in prison for driving drunk and causing a deadly crash.

Instead, Brian Reed, a former member of the Army National Guard, will spend 60 days in jail and serve three years probation for killing 28 year-old Jesse Stroup.

Harvey County District Court Judge Joe Dickinson approved the sentence as part of a plea deal between prosecutors and Reed’s DUI attorney Boyd McPherson that reduced the charges to two counts of aggravated battery.

Judge Dickinson ordered Reed to participate in public speaking events to warn others about the costs of driving drunk. And he warned Reed that any violation of the terms would send him straight to prison form more than five years.

Prior to the sentence becoming official, Judge Dickinson heard testimony from a defense psychologist who said Reed suffers from depression and PTSD brought on by the events he witnessed in Iraq. The expert said Reed became dependent on alcohol to cope.

The judge agreed with defense evidence showing Reed’s current treatment program would be “more effective” than prison time.

“Mr. Reed has done everything that you could do at this point to try to better himself and make sure that this isn’t going to happen again,” Judge Dickinson said.

FactFinder 12 spoke with Kansas Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) about the case. Spokeswoman Karen Smart didn’t agree with the decision to plead down the charges. Smart said the original charge of involuntary manslaughter DUI was correct and that “some” prison time would have been appropriate.

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