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Sebastopol man gets year in jail in DUI wreck

A 20-year-old Sebastopol man who crashed head-on into a Novato woman’s car on Santa Rosa’s Stony Point Road while he was high on drugs was sentenced Thursday to a year in county jail.

Ben Rhoades was remanded into custody to begin his punishment after an emotional hearing in which victim Vicki Siefer urged a stiff sentence.

Siefer suffered serious injuries in the December 2012 crash and was forced to undergo leg reconstruction surgery.

Rhoades faced a maximum six-year prison term, but Judge Shelly Averill handed down the jail sentence, citing his youth and lack of a criminal record. She also ordered Rhoades to serve five years’ probation and participate in a six-month drug rehabilitation program.

He was initially charged with possession of a hypodermic needle and refusing a chemical test. The charges were dropped after a preliminary hearing showed a lack of evidence, said Rhoades’ lawyer, Charles Applegate.

Rhoades later pleaded no contest to driving under the influence with an enhancement for causing great bodily injury, Applegate said.

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