Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Southwest Michigan Regional Airport (KBEH) director pleads guilty to drunken driving

Vincent Desjardins
ST. JOSEPH — The director of the Southwest Michigan Regional Airport pleaded guilty Monday to drunken driving and failing to report a property damage accident.

Vincent Desjardins, 30, told Berrien County Trial Court Judge Scott Schofield that he had five drinks, including two martinis, a shot of whiskey and two shots of tequila before getting behind the wheel of a car on Nov. 19, 2016. He hit a property owner’s mailbox in Royalton Township and did not stop to report it, according to court records. 

The judge noted that Desjardins’ blood alcohol level was found to be 0.20, more than two times the legal limit of 0.08.

Desjardins was charged with operating with a high blood alcohol content, having an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle and failing to stop or report a property damage accident. The open container charge was dropped as part of a plea deal reached with prosecutors. 

The drunken driving charge carries a maximum penalty of 93 days in jail and the failure to stop at an accident charge is punishable by up to 90 days and/or a $100 fine plus court costs. In addition, the court could seek restitution to the property owner in the amount of $70.84. Schofield advised Desjardins to “bring lots of money with you” to sentencing.

Schofield did not set a sentencing date pending substance abuse screening for Desjardins. The judge noted that he has no prior record. 

Attempts by The Herald-Palladium to reach airport board members Monday for comment were unsuccessful. Desjardins was unavailable for comment Monday afternoon.

Dejardins was hired in November 2013 as the operations/maintenance manager and assistant airport manager under then-director Lee Scherwitz. He spent a year working with Scherwitz and preparing to be the next director. Scherwitz retired and handed the reins over to Dejardins in June 2015. 

Prior to working at the Southwest Michigan Regional Airport, Desjardins worked as a Federal Aviation Administration-licensed private pilot and a FAA-licensed airframe and power plant mechanic.

A graduate of Lake Michigan Catholic High School and Western Michigan University, Dejardins was also the regional director of maintenance for an Aerial Patrol company, where he maintained aircraft and hangar facilities. 

Source:  http://www.heraldpalladium.com

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