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Man sentenced to prison for crash that paralyzed friend

A California man was sentenced Tuesday to nearly six years in prison after pleading guilty to assault and drunken-driving charges in a New Year's Day crash that severely injured his friend.

Kevin Charles Grimes, 44, of Calimesa, California, told Circuit Court Judge Lorenzo Mejia that he wishes he could take back the events that paralyzed his friend, Richard Salmon, from the neck down during a rollover crash in a Central Point neighborhood. Grimes was celebrating his birthday the day of the crash.

"It was tragic," Grimes said. "I'm sorry to everyone."

At just before 5 p.m. Jan. 1, Grimes took a corner at high speed, swerved and over-corrected in the area of Old Upton Road and Teresa Way, causing the Toyota 4Runner SUV Grimes was driving to roll over completely before coming to a rest on its wheels, according to Deputy District Attorney Nick Geil.

Grimes said he wished he could apologize to the Salmon and his family personally, but no one from the family attended the hearing.

At the scene of the crash, Grimes told police he drank about three tall beers before driving, and had a blood alcohol reading of .21, nearly triple the legal limit. Salmon, 44 at the time of the crash, was the front passenger in the vehicle, and was immediately rushed to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center after reporting he couldn't feel his extremities. A victim in the back seat, Jeffrey Davis, suffered head and facial injuries in the crash.

Grimes was sentenced to 70 months in prison after pleading guilty to a felony charge of third-degree assault and a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence of intoxicants. His driver's license was revoked for eight years, and because it is a Measure 11 sentence, Grimes will serve the full 70 months, according to Geil. 

Grimes remains in Jackson County Jail pending federal charges alleging that between November 2011 and May 2012 he distributed and conspired to distribute oxycodone.

— Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

Kevin Grimes