Nelsonville Man Gets 8 Years In Prison

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Nelsonville man charged with breaking and entering and also driving under the influence while a child was in the car, has been sentenced to a total of eight years in prison.

Vance Johnson, 33, appeared in Athens County Common Pleas Court on Monday to agree to a plea deal with the Athens County Prosecutor's Office that would send him to prison for eight years, give him a 15-year license suspension and require him to attend a mandatory alcohol treatment program, according to Prosecutor Keller Blackburn.

Johnson is charged with two counts of operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, one count tampering with evidence — each third-degree felonies — and one count of endangering children, a misdemeanor of the first degree. He is also charged with fifth-degree felonies of possessing criminal tools and breaking and entering.

The sentence encompasses two different cases, one from April in which Johnson was accused of breaking in to the former 33 Carryout in Nelsonville and another case from July in which he was charged with driving under the influence while his juvenile son was in the car.

In the latter case, Johnson was charged with tampering when it was found that he attempted to move his son into the driver's seat after Johnson was pulled over by an officer of the Nelsonville Police Department.

Johnson was charged with another count of operating a motor vehicle under the influence two days later.

"He needs to learn to straighten up his behavior," Blackburn said on Monday. "He's less than 35 years old, he is now going to have to get his life together before he spends most of it in prison."

Johnson will be required to have special plates on his vehicle if he obtains his license again, and his vehicle must be equipped with Ignition Interlock Device, which requires him to blow into a device similar to a breathalyzer in order for the car to start, Blackburn said.

State statute requires that Johnson serve seven years of the sentence before judicial release is considered, but Blackburn said the man will likely serve the entire sentence.

During Johnson's appearance in court, he requested a furlough to visit with his grandmother and son which the state opposed. A ruling has not been given on the motion.