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Man who tears up ball fields gets jail time and bill

Posted: Friday, April 30, 2004

The man who ripped through Savikko Park fields last week in a pickup apologized Wednesday before getting a jail sentence and a bill to pay for the cleanup.

"I am very sorry that I damaged the softball fields," Asher Townsend wrote in a statement prepared for his Juneau District Court sentencing hearing. He pleaded guilty to a drunken driving charge that grew out of the incident.

Magistrate John W. Sivertsen Jr. sentenced Townsend, 20, to serve 40 days in jail - 180 days with 140 days suspended. He also fined Townsend $3,000, revoked his driver's license for one year and placed him on probation for two years.

Police reported on April 20 that people called shortly after 1 a.m. about a truck breaking through the fences and digging ruts into two of the Savikko Park fields. At 1:19 a.m., an officer was patrolling behind the pickup that Townsend was driving, on 10th Street coming off the Juneau Bridge from Douglas Island.

According to court records, Townsend failed field sobriety tests, his blood alcohol level was measured at .146 percent.

"I was drinking and not thinking," he wrote for the court. "I did not think about how upset my trashing the field and the fence would make people. ... I am paying for the damage and have admitted to drinking and driving."

Sivertsen gave the state 90 days to determine how much Townsend would owe the city for repairs.

Thursday, Assistant Juneau District Attorney Doug Gardner filed a statement placing the damages at $3,279.

The prosecution dismissed the other misdemeanor charges - driving with his license revoked and three counts of reckless endangerment.

Police reported after the incident that they also had charged Townsend with a felony count of third-degree criminal mischief. Gardner said the felony charge wasn't filed by his office.

He said justice was served with the plea to the drunken driving charge and an agreement that required Townsend pay for the damages.

"I don't know why I do the things I do," Townsend wrote. "I know I need help. I would like the people of Juneau to forgive me and pray for me."



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