Area man gets second chance to avoid serving jail time

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A man who defied a court order to abstain from alcohol and caught drinking less than an hour later by the judge who issued the order received a second chance in court Monday.

Circuit Judge William Syler sentenced Jacob V. Vandeven, 28, of Whitewater, Mo., to six months in jail for violating his probation, but suspended the execution of that sentence for two years probation.

During that probation period, Vandeven is not allowed to enter a bar or tavern or consume any alcohol. If he violates those orders, Vandeven will be subject to the jail time.

On Dec. 5, Vandeven appeared before Syler and pleaded guilty to and received probation for a reduced charge of misdemeanor driving while intoxicated for causing an accident with injuries.

Less than an hour later, Syler went to lunch at Tractor's Classic American Grill, a Jackson restaurant and bar close to the courthouse, where he spotted Vandeven drinking -- a violation of his probation.

Vandeven admitted to drinking at the restaurant, and his attorney told the judge that the defendant had a drinking problem and was willing to be admitted to a treatment program.

Following the 30-day inpatient alcohol program, Vandeven appeared before Syler Monday and was warned about violating the judge's orders a second time.

"I expect you to be perfect in every way," the judge said of the defendant, stating there would be "zero tolerance" for any probation violation that Vandeven makes.

"The whole world is going to watch you," the judge warned, referring to the national media coverage of the case. Syler told Vandeven he had even received a telephone call from a friend in Hawaii who had read about the incident in USA Today.

Before being granted probation, Vandeven apologized to the court and said his actions were "stupid."

kmorrison@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127

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