CLINTON — A Clinton man has received a suspended prison term and a hefty jail sentence after pleading guilty to Class C felony homicide by vehicle.

As part of a plea agreement, Michael D. Franzen, 544 11th Ave. South, was sentenced Thursday to up to 10 years in prison, but that sentence was suspended and he was ordered to serve 120 days in the Clinton County Jail as part of his guilty plea to a charge of operating while intoxicated, first offense, in connection with the Jan. 29 crash that killed his friend, William Ziegler-Bounds of Albany, Ill.

The accident happened at 1:20 a.m. that morning in the 900 block of South Third Street. Clinton police called to the scene found a 1998 Chevy Monte Carlo on its top with part of a telephone pole on the undercarriage of the vehicle.

Ziegler-Bounds was found, without a pulse, partially outside of the vehicle.

In court documents, Clinton police state Franzen approached police at the scene and told them he was the driver, and had at first run from the area because he was driving under suspension.

Franzen admitted to drinking three shots of peppermint Schnapps and a beer prior to the accident and failed field sobriety tests. He also took a preliminary breath test, which indicated he had a blood alcohol content above the legal limit.

He originally was charged with Class B felony homicide by vehicle, in which the death was attributed to being intoxicated at the time of the crash. He faced up to 25 years in prison and mandatory prison time if convicted of that charge.

Instead, he was allowed in August to plead guilty to the lesser charge that states the accident was the result of reckless driving, and the OWI portion was turned into a separate second charge, an act that led to a possible 10-year prison sentence, but gave sentencing discretion to Clinton County District Court Judge David Sivright.

Sivright said Thursday the victim’s family strongly wished for Franzen to be kept out of prison; Sivright said the sentence handed down will keep him out of prison, but that he will still spend time quite a bit of time in jail as punishment. Franzen is receiving credit for 62 days of jail time already served.

Franzen also was fined $1,000 on the homicide by vehicle charge. The fine was suspended, but he must pay $150,000 in restitution to Ziegler-Bounds' estate.

On the OWI sentence, Franzen was fined $1,250. He must get a substance abuse evaluation and treatment at New Directions and attend the Drinking Drivers program at Clinton Community College. As part of his three-year probation, Franzen must complete payment of restitution, fine and court costs.

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