“I am very sorry about everything that happened. My actions were despicable at the time,” Thomas told Judge Stacy Wall in Miami County Common Pleas Court.
Public defender Joe Fulker asked Wall to consider placing Thomas on community control so he could receive treatment for mental health and alcohol issues, saying he had battled depression after losing three family members in a short period of time.
Wall read from various parts of the police report detailing how Thomas had consumed several beers at his Piqua home before buying more beer and driving to Troy where the security cameras were shot out, scaring business employees who called police.
As officers arrived, he drove over the curb to get away from them, Wall said. Thomas had not taken medication prescribed for mental health issues and was intoxicated, she said.
Officer Laura Blankenship and Sgt. Matt Mosier, both involved in the incident, spoke in court.
“Mr. Thomas rammed my cruiser without hesitation … I didn’t ask for this. Mr. Thomas had complete disregard for the law, for everybody else that night,” said Blankenship. The pursuit and shooting were the first time in her career that she felt she might not be returning home to her family, she said.
Mosier talked about the stress associated with an officer involved shooting and subsequent investigation. Like Blankenship, he also commented on a changed life that now includes panic attacks along with other stresses.
“My quality of life has greatly diminished, and I am hyper vigilant,” he said.
Wall said the actions by Thomas that evening was intentional from not taking his medication, to heavy drinking, driving while intoxicated, possessing two loaded firearms in his vehicle and putting his and the officers’ lives at risk.
“This was in your control that night,” she told him. “You individually changed [the officers’] lives. Both suffered mentally and financially.”
Thomas was sentenced to five to 7.5 years in prison for felonious assault and another year, to be served consecutively, for failure to comply. His license will be suspended for 10 years, and he was ordered to pay court costs. He received credit for 298 days served in the local jail since his arrest.
Blankenship, Mosier and a third officer, Alec Sears, were placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation of the incident by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Mosier and Blankenship later returned to work while Sears resigned from the department, according to personnel records.