Former St. Louis police officer gets probation for drunk-driving collision

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by Lauren Trager / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on July 29, 2013 at 9:34 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 30 at 11:16 PM

 (KMOV) -- A St. Louis officer who drove drunk and caused devastating injuries will get absolutely no time behind bars for his crimes. The off-duty officer even hit another officer who was on the job.

Schinner got to walk out of the courthouse on Monday a free man.

He pleaded guilty back in May to two counts of assault. Prosecutors wanted him to serve ten years in prison. Instead a judge just put him on probation.

“It’s upsetting, not only is it two people whose lives  who have been affected and altered by it, but two families, friends and the community at large,” said Meghan Carter, the Executive Director of the Gateway Affiliate of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Christmas Eve 2011, Michael Schinner was off duty, driving his Dodge Caliber the wrong way on a one way street in South City.

He slammed into a police officer who’d, coincidentally, just been working a DWI checkpoint.

Officers say Schinner smelled of booze, could barely stand up, and had beer bottles in his car, but he refused to take breath or blood tests.

“I think taking everything into account, it was an appropriate sentence,” said Scott Rosenblum, Schinner’s attorney.

Rosenblum says Schinner is remorseful, hasn’t had a drop to drink since the day of the accident, and is grateful for a second chance.

“I don’t think one night defines a person in anyway,” said Rosenblum.

Carter says the sentence is far too light and sends a message that drunk driving isn’t serious.

“These drunk-driving crashes do not have to happen,” she said.

Judge Mark Neill couldn’t be reached for comment.

Schinner resigned from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department last August and won’t be able to wear a badge ever again. 

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