MOUNT VERNON — A Howard man was sentenced to jail at a Thursday Knox County Common Pleas Court hearing for multiple counts of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and driving under suspension.

Mark Crawford, 51, pled guilty to two counts of OVI, fourth-degree felonies, and driving under a court suspension, a first-degree misdemeanor. The second OVI offense was committed while the first offense was pending trial.

Crawford had three previous OVI convictions in Mount Vernon Municipal Court between 2009 and 2013, according to court records.

On Sept. 30, 2019, Crawford was charged with one count of OVI. Knox County Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Wetzel suspended Crawford’s driver’s license and released Crawford with the condition that Crawford remains sober under supervision pending trial at an Oct. 17 bond hearing.

On Nov. 18, Crawford backed into a deputy’s cruiser while intoxicated, violating both his court order suspension and bond conditions. Crawford was charged with another OVI in addition to driving under a court suspension. Crawford’s vehicle was impounded following the offense.

At a Dec. 11 bond hearing, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Christine Williams submitted that Crawford had accumulated five OVI charges in the last 10 years and posed a substantial risk of harm to himself, others or the community. Williams, therefore, requested that Crawford be held without bond.

Wetzel granted Williams’ request to hold Crawford without bond and ordered that Crawford’s vehicle remained impounded pending trial.

At Thursday’s sentencing, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Nicole Derr asserted that Crawford had a history of drinking and driving and disobeying court orders. Derr recommended a prison sentence and requested an $868 restitution to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office for the damage to the cruiser.

Public Defender John Dankovich stated that Crawford has a severe chronic issue with alcohol and is willing to undergo treatment. Dankovich also argued that he was unaware of the bill to repair the cruiser and was under the impression that there was no damage.

In a prepared statement to the court, Crawford said that he was remorseful for his past actions and has realized that he is an alcoholic during the pre-trial period. Crawford asked the court to consider treatment in lieu of a prison term.

Based on the hearing, Wetzel sentenced Crawford to 270 days in jail for each OVI to be served concurrently in addition to a 10-year mandatory license suspension. As part of his sentence, Crawford must complete an alcohol and drug treatment program. After Crawford is released from jail, he will be subject to three years probation with continuous alcohol and drug assessments and an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. residential curfew. Crawford was also ordered to pay the $868 bill for the damaged cruiser.

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Eli Chung: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @




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