Former Springfield Township police officer Mark Dodez was told he may never walk again after being paralyzed from the waist down, is now making steps to a new beginning.
News Channel 5 had a chance to track the progress of Dodez in his home. Dodez can now use a walker to walk about 158 feet after doctors told him it was nearly impossible.
"They told my wife, 'one in a thousand chance' of me walking and I'm walking," Dodez said.
VIDEO Paralyzed Officer, Mark Dodez, Walking Again Through Physical Therapy
Dodez was struck by a drunk driver on March 31, while walking along South Arlington Road investigating a case.
He says he is staying strong and trying to move forward for his kids. he hopes to walk his daughters down the isle one day.
On the web: www.newsnet5.com
A Doylestown man who struck a Springfield Township police officer has been sentenced to six years in prison.
On Wednesday, a Summit County jury found Michael Plemons, 35, guilty on all counts for causing a drunk driving crash that left officer Mark Dodez paralyzed.
Plemons was convicted of aggravated vehicular assault, driving under the influence and hit-skip. He also recieved a 10-year license suspension.
Officer Dodez was struck by the car on March 31 while walking along South Arlington Road investigating a separate incident.
News Release from Summit County Prosecutor's office:
Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh announced today that Judge Alison McCarty sentenced Michael Plemons, 35, of Bailey Court in Doylestown, to six years in prison and a 10-year license suspension, the maximum penalty Plemons could receive.
“Two families were destroyed the night of March 31 because a man chose to drive drunk,” said Summit County Prosecuting Attorney Sherri Bevan Walsh. “I’m pleased that Judge McCarty gave Mr. Plemons the maximum sentence, and I hope this serves as a reminder to everyone of the danger police officers face every day. I also hope this serves as a warning of what can happen when you get behind the wheel of your car after having too many drinks.”
On March 31, Plemons drove his truck into Springfield Township Patrolman Mark Dodez as Officer Dodez was searching for evidence that had been thrown onto Arlington Road in Springfield during a police chase earlier that evening. Plemons' blood alcohol content was .28 after the crash.
A jury found Plemons guilty of Aggravated Vehicular Assault, a third-degree felony; Driving Under the Influence, a first-degree misdemeanor; and Hit-Skip, a fifth-degree felony, on November 2.
A Summit County jury has found a 35-year-old Doylestown man guilty on all charges after a drunk driving crash that left a Springfield Township police officer paralyzed.
Michael Plemons was convicted of aggravated vehicular assault , driving under the influence and hit-skip Wednesday evening.
Officer Mark Dodez was struck by the car on March 31 while walking along South Arlington Road investigating a separate incident.
Plemons will be sentenced Thursday morning at 9:30 by Common Pleas Judge Allison McCarty.
Previous Coverage: Man Who Triggered Dodez Tragedy Sentenced
The man who evaded police and ultimately led to tragedy will have a dozen years behind bars to reflect.
31-year old Joseph Bennett of Akron set the events in motion this past spring when police were trying to pull him over after a traffic incident. At the time of the chase, Bennett threw an item from his window and a passenger even bailed out of the vehicle. Police suspected the item thrown from the car was illegal drugs.
After the chase of Bennett was broken off over safety concerns, officers undertook a foot search of Arlington Road searching for evidence. At that time, a drunk driver hit and severely injured Springfield Police Officer Mark Dodez.
Dodez was diagnosed as paralyzed, but recent improvements in his health have prompted hope not only a full recovery but the ability to return to duty on the Springfield police department force.
Summit County Prosecutor - news release
Joseph Bennett, 31, of Inman Street in Akron was sentenced today by Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands to 12 years in prison.
“This case is a sobering reminder of the dangers our law enforcement members face every day,” said Summit County Prosecuting Attorney Sherri Bevan Walsh. “I am grateful for the hard work of our local police officers, and I am proud of the support they offered Officer Dodez this afternoon in court.”
On March 31, 2011, a Springfield police officer attempted to pull over Bennett for almost causing a large traffic accident. Bennett refused to stop, at one point throwing an item out of his window on Arlington Road. Bennett’s passenger exited the vehicle during the chase. Police terminated the chase after Bennett nearly caused several accidents and the excessive speeds became too dangerous.
Springfield officers and Summit County Sheriffs searched the area of Arlington Road after Bennett’s passenger confirmed that Bennett had thrown methamphetamines out of his window during the chase. During the search, Springfield Officer Mark Dodez was hit and severely injured by a drunk driver.
Acting on a tip, Akron police officers found Bennett hiding in the basement of his girlfriend’s apartment five days later. As they were arresting him, Bennett attempted to stuff more methamphetamines in his underwear. While being booked at Summit County Jail, deputies discovered more methamphetamines on his person.
Bennett pled guilty to Failure to Comply, a third-degree felony; Tampering with Evidence, a third-degree felony; Conveyance of drugs, a third-degree felony; and Aggravated Possession of Drugs, a fifth-degree felony, on August 17.
Copyright © 2013 AkronNewsNow & Rubber City Radio Group |All Rights Reserved | 1795 West Market Street | Akron, OH 44313 | 330.869.9800