Shane Warr

Shane Warr

POCATELLO — A 58-year-old Blackfoot man was sentenced to prison last week for seriously injuring at least two people when he drove an alcohol delivery truck while drunk and crashed into oncoming traffic on Interstate 15 in Pocatello in February, according to court records.

Sixth District Judge Robert C. Naftz ordered Shane Warr, a former alcohol delivery driver with the Twin Falls-based TEC Distributing of Idaho, to serve 13 years in prison during a sentencing hearing at the Bannock County Courthouse on Nov. 10.

Warr, who pleaded guilty to one count of felony driving under the influence in August as part of a plea agreement with Bannock County prosecutors, must serve at least five years in prison before being eligible for parole.

Warr agreed to a plea bargain that placed him at the mercy of the court for the wreck that he caused while driving drunk. The deal didn’t do anything to reduce the maximum possible sentence he could have faced for the crime, up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. It merely ensured two misdemeanors — possession of an open alcoholic beverage container while driving and carrying a concealed weapon while under the influence — conditionally dismissed in February were not refiled.

Warr was criminally charged following a Feb. 3 crash on Interstate 15 in Pocatello, according to police reports the Idaho State Journal obtained earlier this year. While driving a semi-truck northbound on Interstate 15 from Malad to Pocatello, Warr fell asleep at the wheel, police said. Warr’s semi crossed the median, collided with two vehicles, crashed through the guardrail of the southbound lanes of Interstate 15 and came to rest on a hillside, police said.

Warr told responding deputies the last thing he remembered was traversing up the hill just before the Clark Street exit in Pocatello, but nothing after that, police said.

Warr did not complete field sobriety tests because he suffered injuries in the crash, but provided police with two breathalyzer test results two minutes apart, police said. The first test said Warr’s blood alcohol content level was .132 and the second test was .124, of which both were over the .08 legal limit to operate a motor vehicle in the state of Idaho, police said.

In addition to Warr having already been convicted of driving under the influence in August 2016, one of the occupants of one of the two vehicles Warr struck, 54-year-old Pocatello resident Debbie Akers, was transported to Portneuf Medical Center via Pocatello Fire Department ambulance to receive treatment for serious injuries, police said.

Warr was subsequently cited with felony aggravated battery, arrested and booked into the Bannock County Jail in Pocatello following the crash. He appeared in front of 6th District Judge R. Todd Garbett on the day after the crash and was released from jail on his own recognizance, according to court records.

Akers is a former American Falls School District teacher who was forced to retire early because of the injuries she sustained in the crash, she said when reading a victim impact statement during Warr’s sentencing hearing last week.

“You made the choice while on the job to consume alcohol and then drive an 18-wheel semi-truck at a high speed on a major interstate,” Akers said. “That choice Mr. Warr turned that truck into a weapon of destruction. Your choices and actions that day resulted in my Suburban being violently struck by the alcohol delivery truck you were driving, completely decapitating my vehicle and rendering me helpless, my body broken. I saw with terror your 18-wheel semi-truck fly through the air and straight for me. I instinctively hit my brakes, ducked and swerved left into the median and then helplessly watched as your semi-truck ripped off the entire roof of my suburban, demolishing my 6,000-pound vehicle. In a flash, my life was forever changed.”

Akers said that as a result of the crash, she sustained a broken back that required the fusing of four vertebrae, two breaks in her right femur, a broken right hip, a torn right labrum, a broken left shoulder, a concussion and numerous lacerations to her head, face and hands.

“My body is now a road map of scarring and as life moves on these scars will forever remind me of all that I have lost,” Akers said. “My medical bills at this point are over $560,000 and counting, not including my most recent six-hour surgery or the ongoing physical therapy. The financial burden to me and my family surpasses medical bills. In addition, we had to make multiple costly adaptations for me to live safely in my home. My independence vanished on February 3, as I now have to rely heavily on my family, friends and hired nurses to assist me in my limited activity of daily living which include toileting, bathing, dressing, eating, driving, grocery shopping, sleeping or simply moving about.”

Akers and her husband Andy have filed a civil lawsuit against Warr and TEC Distributing of Idaho seeking a substantial monetary amount in damages for “all economic losses incurred including past and future medical expenses, therapy and rehabilitation, past and future lost income and wage-earning capacity and any other out-of-pocket expenses,” Boise attorney Grady Hepworth told the Journal earlier this year. The civil case has a trial date set for July 19, 2022.

Warr was not driving alone during the crash. James King, a former TEC Distributing employee that was riding as a passenger in the semi-truck, has also filed a suit against Warr and his former employer.

James King filed the civil suit in September. King suffered a broken back and a compound fracture in his left foot, according to the suit. King’s suit does not yet have a trial date set.