ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - A former St. Louis police officer, accused of driving drunk and crashing into a police truck, recently changed his plea, and was sentenced Monday.
Michael Schinner, 28, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree assault - operating a vehicle while intoxicated resulting in injury May 29, 2013.
The accident happened around 2:16 a.m. December 24, 2011 as Schinner, who was off-duty at the time, drove his 2007 Dodge Caliber the wrong way down Tower Grove Avenue, a one-way street.
Another officer was leaving a DWI/sobriety safety checkpoint in a St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department truck and was driving north on Tower Grove when Schinner hit it, causing the police truck to spin. The black box from the Caliber indicates Schinner was driving approximately 48 miles per hour.
A passenger inside Schinner's vehicle was seriously injured, suffering head trauma and a hip dislocation. He was unconscious and was on a breathing machine for several days following the accident.
Court documents state Schinner got out of his vehicle, but had to steady himself by clutching the roof to maintain balance. When asked how the accident occurred, he said, "This is just a bad dream."
Officers responding to the scene say they could smell alcohol on Schinner's breath, had to help him stand and walk, and asked him sit down three times before he complied. When asked for his driver's license, he instead handed him his police identification and refused to answer questions about alcohol consumption or submit to a field sobriety test.
When Schinner was taken to an ambulance he fell forward into the vehicle, and was caught by a paramedic. He was also uncooperative and combative with paramedics.
Multiple open beer bottles were found inside Schinner's vehicle, some of which still contained beer.
Originally, Schinner was charged with second-degree assault on a law enforcement officer, second-degree assault, and driving while intoxicated. Hepleaded not guilty to those charges in April. The DWI was dropped because the charges morphed into two assault charges - operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated resulting in injury.
Schinner's passenger had plans to enter the police academy, but the injuries he incurred in the accident prevented him from following through with his plans.
On Monday, Schinner was sentenced to five years of probation and 100 hours community service. He is not allowed to drink alcohol and must attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings once per week.