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Albany man sentenced to eight years for injury DUII crash

Albany man sentenced to eight years for injury DUII crash

Joseph McCusker

Joseph McCusker

An Albany man has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison for an intoxicated driving crash that severely injured two victims, according to court records.

Joseph Ryan McCusker, 33, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree assault, third-degree assault, driving under the influence of intoxicants and tampering with physical evidence on Oct. 13 in Linn County Circuit Court.

“This incident is yet another tragic example of the dangers of driving under the influence of controlled substances, which we are seeing more and more of. It’s no longer limited to impairment by alcohol. In this case, he had meth, heroin and methadone in his system,” said prosecutor Ani Yardumian, in an email to the paper.

Second-degree assault is a Measure 11 crime, and under Oregon law, McCusker will serve every day of his sentence. He is ineligible for reductions, work release programs or conditional and supervised release programs.

The crash, which occurred on July 4 and was investigated by the Albany Police Department, left a passenger in the vehicle paralyzed and a woman who was struck by McCusker's out-of-control car suffered severe head injuries and two broken arms, according to a probable cause affidavit in the case.

Another passenger in the automobile suffered bruising to his chest, lacerations to his head and breathing difficulties.

The wreck happened at about 1 p.m. on Seventh Street Southeast, underneath the Pacific Boulevard underpass.

McCusker’s 2002 Pontiac Sunfire was westbound and left the roadway on a curve, going onto railroad property before it crashed into one of the support beams for the overpass. In the immediate aftermath of the wreck, he hid multiple syringes and narcotics paraphernalia in nearby weeds and behind a support beam due to fear of a DUII investigation, according to the affidavit.

A charge of reckless driving was dismissed as part of the negotiated settlement.

McCusker’s defense attorney Elijah Brown did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Judge Rachel Kittson-MaQatish handled the proceedings.

Kyle Odegard can be contacted at 541-812-6077 or kyle.odegard@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter via @KyleOdegard.

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