Hermes sentenced to 10 days for hayride crash

(UPDATED WITH VIDEO 7:30 p.m.) An Oxford Township man will serve 10 days in jail for drinking while driving a hayride that tipped over in October 2011.
Jessica Cuffman
Jan 10, 2013

Michael Hermes, 48, appeared for sentencing in Erie County Common Pleas Court Thursday morning with his attorney, Troy Wisehart, and about 15 friends and family members there to support him.

In November, he pleaded guilty to a single charge of operating a vehicle under the influence and 15 counts of assault for causing injury to dozens of victims in the crash.

Judge Roger Binette reviewed 28 statements the riders submitted to the Ohio State Highway Patrol in their investigation, as well as victim impact statements.

Hermes apologized before he was sentenced.

"I've never been so scared in my whole entire life," he said. "I'm just sorry for what happened. I'm very, very sorry."

For more on what Hermes had to say and information on the nine pending lawsuits against him pick up Friday's copy of the Register.
 

Comments

thinktwice

Completey irresponsible. An unbelieveably light sentence.

lugnut2511

His last name carries alot of clout in the community, for what I dont know.. Bar fights maybe? I totally agree, nothing but a slap on the wrist...

rickross2

Good for him. Accidents happen.

Me and Only Me

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

rickross2

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal information.

Centauri

If that was true about a drunk judge, it would be listed in public records. How can public information and public records be private? Isn't the Sandusky Register on a crusade for public records?

bigsexy

An expunged record.

Erie Countian

Driving a tractor while drunk is bad enough..pulling 2 haywagons full of people while driving a tractor when drunk is even worse and yet this highly irresponsible and despicable behavior only gets 10 days in jail?!? Unbelievable! Should have been more like 10 MONTHS at the very least.

dearme

Nobody forced anybody to get on the hay wagons. Ten days for 1st time is out of line. Most just have to go to school no jail time.

From The Deep Web

Amazing!

Ten days for 15 counts of assault!

So if someone else goes out and pushes 15 people to the ground (assault) they can expect only ten days in jail? If they are sober while doing it maybe they would only get five days?

Someone pulled a few favors in the good 'ol boy network.

kris63063

Accidents happen! No one was forced to get on the wagons and everyone that was on that hayride is just as much to blame.

candleburner

So based on your reasoning here - if someone is driving drunk and had a passenger in their car and they get injured it's their fault for being in the car with them because no one forced them to get in the car with the drunk driver?? Or what about the people that might be in another car - or maybe even a pedestrian walking along the side of the road and they get injured from this same drunk driver - are they at fault, they should have known better than to be out there when someone was out drinking?? Yes accidents do happen but peopple need to accept responsibility for themselves! And the fact that his wife was out there throwing his empties out into the field after the accident happened doesn't make it seem like he was thinking to much about the people he had injured and that he was scared for anyone but himself!!

Erie Countian

So "accidents happen" and "no one was forced to get on the wagons". Ha! That's laughable...as if that reasoning exonerates Mr. Hermes! He was responsible for driving a bunch of partiers around in his haycarts and he himself was DRIVING DRUNK. There is no excuse for that, period.

Fromthe419

The jail sentence was in line, however I think the civil suits that are forthcoming will hit him hard

Kasey

You're right - nobody "forced" these participants into riding on a trailer; however, they expected the hayride to be fun - not nearly-fatal. What if I decided to rent a limo for a party and all my friends and I got drunk - we would still expect the driver to be sober and drive us around safely. We would not expect him to get drunk with us. Just because we, the passengers, may have been drinking does not make it OK for the driver to. I don't see how this is any different than driving while drunk and crashing with a car full of passengers - sure the sentence would incur more than 10 days of jail time. What if one of the participants died? There is not much difference. This was him putting many lives in danger. What a miscarriage of justice. I hope the pending lawsuits against him REALLY punish him the way our legal system was SUPPOSED to.

Justme...

How is there "not much difference" between someone dying and no one dying? Manslaughter vs. assault? I'm thinking there's a big difference. I agree with the sentence.

doppleganger

The big difference is you paid for the limo, so you expect that the paid driver transport you safely while sober. Did these people pay to ride this hayride, or did they get on with their friend for a night of fun and watch him drink along with them at the bar and then willingly get back on the ride? Two totally different scenarios.

shucks

You're right Kasey

DAUGHTER OF HERMES

Do any of you think that maybe this man is human? You are writing and acting like he is some sort of OBJECT. Are you perfect? Have you ever done anything wrong? My father is aware of his actions and is sorry for the bad decision that he made. Can you please stop writing all these rude and mean comments that are inappropriate. While you are at it......maybe you ALL could find something better to do with your time. Take a learning lesson from Mr. Hermes himself......stop wasting your time worrying about everyone else and putting your thoughts on the internet and maybe spend time with family, friends and loved ones!!!! My father is a all around family man who would do anything for anyone. Loves spending time with his four children, loving wife and two granddaughters. WE LOVE U DAD :)

wiredmama222

I am sure that your father, in your eyes and in the eyes of some others, is a very good man. I do not know him and I am not his judge and jury. I was not asked to be. But you must remember that these are public posting boards. People come on here to state what they feel about the stories written on the Sandusky Register.

Your father apologized for what he felt was a "mistake". Others do not see it as a mistake but a terrible lack of judgement on the part of your father and by your mother for trying to cover it up.

Whatever the reason, the law was very gracious to him. You seem like an intellegient person and whether or not you drive, I am sure that you understand getting behind the wheel of any motorized vehicle when you have been drinking is against the law. You put people's lives in danger. But to do so when you are ferrying others in haywagons and putting their lives at risk, it is even worse. Had your dad not been drinking that night, none of this may have happened.

Now, to get off with just a 10 day in jail sentence, when others go to jail for so much longer, it makes a mockery of what many people expect to see drunk driving charges receive.

No one gets light sentences like that just by being sorry. I am sure he is sorry, but the truth is, people got hurt. When you decide to drink and drive, you run that risk. Had someone been killed, your dad would have been indicted for probably vehichular homicide and an "I'm sorry" wouldn't do.

So don't be too upset by what you read on here or take it too much to heart. These people are venting their displeasure with both him and the legal system that appears to be way out of whack here and unfair to the victims.

I am sure you seem him for what you see him for. That is how it should be.

Ithink

I don't know any of you. However, I am human and know what it is like to make a wrong decision. Everyone on that hayride had to know Mr Hermes was consuming alcohol, just like they were. I did not hear of anyone holding a gun to their head to get on the wagon. Yes, he is responsible for driving under the influence. He was sentenced. Now everyone needs to move on- geesh

2cents's picture
2cents
DAUGHTER OF HERMES

Do any of you think that maybe this man is human? You are writing and acting like he is some sort of OBJECT. Are you perfect? Have you ever done anything wrong? My father is aware of his actions and is sorry for the bad decision that he made. Can you please stop writing all these rude and mean comments that are inappropriate. While you are at it......maybe you ALL could find something better to do with your time. Take a learning lesson from Mr. Hermes himself......stop wasting your time worrying about everyone else and putting your thoughts on the internet and maybe spend time with family, friends and loved ones!!!! My father is a all around family man who would do anything for anyone. Loves spending time with his four children, loving wife and two granddaughters. WE LOVE U DAD :)

lifetimeresident

Dont know him, but good for him. Glad nobody was killed. You get drunk together or do drugs together things happen. Lets just hope a lesson was learned.

sanduskysteve

As long as you and your mother helps him cover up for his "mistakes" nothing will change. And I think you know what I mean by that.

Julie R.

I personally am still laughing over Mrs. Hermes throwing the beer bottles into the cornfield --- and that's because we all know had we been in her shoes we would have done the very same thing!

wiredmama222

exactly. Had it been my husband, I know I would have and pouring black coffee down his throat in an attempt to sober him up....like that would help. Have a mint, honey????

lifetimeresident

Not sure who Sandusky Steve was talking to, but Mama222, if them people were together, which they were, their on their own. Lets not blame. I may have been driving and took a bathroom break and then you drove. They were all partying, period. There is no blame here. And to his kids, dont listen to the bad comments, he was with his friends having a good time. Unfortuately it turned bad. Was there anyone sober on the trip? Was there anyone that thought the driver was sober on the trip? Case closed!

deertracker

My issue is with the system. I think a more appropiate sentence was warranted but would have no problem with most of it being suspended. Jail time is not always necessary. I also have a problem with some of you chalking this up to a "mistake". Let's just hope ALL involved will be more responsible in the future. His insurance company is getting the worst of it anyway.

entitled to my ...

I am a firm believer that we make very few "mistakes" in our lives. Most of the time we make bad "choices". As someone who has made terrible choices, I can tell you that the slap on the wrist will not change anything for him. That being said, I can only pray that he has learned his lesson, and will never again drink and drive. But, as someone who has an addiction, unless you are made to "suffer" for your sins, change will not be permanent. I am not saying he hasn't suffered, but he got off easy with a 10 day sentence. What lesson has he truly learned? And to his family-has he TOTALLY stopped drinking? If the answer is no, then he needs to get into a treatment program cause the next time, and if he hasn't stopped drinking, there will be a "next time", he may kill someone.
My advice to his daughter would be to stop reading these blogs. Again, from past experience I can tell you most of what is said will just p**s you off and make it harder on you.

Peachy Keen

To Daughter of Hermes: It's all well and good that your dad is such a great family man, and I'm sorry you had to read the less than kind comments on here about his irresponsible behavior. But hopefully this was a wake-up call for him to clean up his act. Your mom must be a good family person, too...throwing all those empty beer cans off the haywagon to protect your dad. You say we should all quit commenting about his little mistake and spend time with family and friends and loved ones. Such a nice, sweet sentiment. Maybe your dad should have thought about all the family, friends and others he was endangering by his little ol' "mistake" that gosh darn it any of us could have made since none of us are perfect! Sorry, I may not be perfect, but I would never drive drunk, and NEVER endanger so many people if I was responsible for their safety. You should thank God no one was killed in the accident so their families didn't have to suffer their absence due to the behavior of such a wonderful "family man". Be thankful he got such a light punishment, kid.

hermesclan

I am not going to hide behind a screen name, I am Kristi Hermes, Mikes wife. I just want to correct a couple of you since I know the facts and the true story. I myself was charged a felony for messing with evidence. But my charges were dropped because there was no evidence. There was no evidence because it was not me! I drove the truck behind all the wagons with my flashers on. When the accident happened I never left my truck. I was never up by the tractor or wagons. The officer who wrote the charges has since seen pictures of me and the person who was throwing the beer cans, and he has admitted to being wrong. I just wanted to correct the misinformation.

luvblues2

You are making the situation worse. If you want it to die, shush.

NurseRatchet

Hmm, my husband wrecks a trailer and hay wagon full of our friends and I don't get out of the truck to make sure no one is hurt? Yep, sure, that sounds believable.

AAHFRMC

He was more than punished. Typically drinking and driving first offense holds a 3 day jail sentence that most of the time is suspended and offenders get to go to alcohol counseling. Leave the poor guy and his family alone. They've been crucified in the news thanks to all of you who have nothing better to do than sit in front of your computer and throw stones at everyone, but don't dare take a look in the mirror.

2sense

now come the civil suits that will hurt worse

JERRY from SANDUSKY

Y'all or nothing but a bunch of whiners

Centauri

Besides the alcohol, what other factors were the cause of the crash? Has everybody forgotten about the 7 to 12 inch road shoulder drop? What if Hermes had no alcohol in his system but the crash still resulted because the last hay wagon's tires dropped off into the 7 to 12 inch low shoulder?

http://www.sanduskyregister.com/...
"An attorney says unfinished construction work on Patten Tract Road caused Saturday's hay-ride crash that left 28 people injured.

Erie County workers were working on the road Thursday, placing fill dirt along a 7-inch drop-off at the shoulder of the road."

Have any of you ever followed farm wagons when pulled? They must be pulled slowly. The slow moving vehicle signs on the back of the wagons shown in the photo will attest to that. If the wagons speed up, then they will start to swerve due to the design.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4...

The question is what caused the wagon to tip? I have seen fully loaded top heavy hay wagons being pulled in tandem start to swerve but they didn't tip over. Will a lawsuit be filed against the county? According to records, Hermes had a BAC of 0.123. Years ago in Ohio, it was 0.10 that was considered for DUI.
The story made news across the nation, mainly due to the number of injuries (28).

"In November, he pleaded guilty to a single charge of operating a vehicle under the influence and 15 counts of assault for causing injury to dozens of victims in the crash." but in an earlier news story, he was charged with "aggravated vehicular assault" which I feel was an over charge.

http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2903.08 (Aggravated vehicular assault)

"Judge Roger Binette reviewed 28 statements the riders submitted to the Ohio State Highway Patrol in their investigation, as well as victim impact statements." Victim impact statements do affect a sentence.

Looking at other Ohio DUI cases where injuries occurred, some drivers are not charged with aggravated vehicular assault. Some of these people have connections to the powers that be. It appears that Hermes may have many friends in the area but he certainly didn't get any free passes or favors from the powers that be.

https://www.aaafoundation.org/si...
Safety Impacts of Pavement Edge Drop-offs