A young man is hoping for another chance at leading a good life after fleeing sheriff’s deputies at speeds reaching 101 mph while carrying a 0.9-gram bag that tested positive for fentanyl.
Skeptics might raise eyebrows at that set of facts, especially because Devan C. Teniente was on supervision after being released from prison when the chase occurred June 21.
But the 23-year-old, of 1061 Hain Road, Edgerton, seemed sincere and thoughtful about his crimes Friday in Rock County Court.
“I’ve spent my whole life trying to find the right way to do the wrong things, and it has repeatedly gotten me here (to court),” he said. “And I’m just blessed to have this opportunity, before it got really bad, to change that, and I want to take advantage of that and just better my life,” he told Judge Barbara McCrory.
In a plea agreement, Teniente pleaded guilty to fleeing an officer and possession of narcotics, and McCrory sentenced him to a year in jail for each crime.
But McCrory set the sentence to run concurrently with the one year and nine months he already is serving for violating the terms of his supervision, so he will serve no extra time.
Defense attorney Frank Raff said Teniente had found work after his prison release and has a supportive family, but he fell back into using drugs and tried heroin for the first time two weeks before the chase on Highway 14, from the outskirts of Janesville into Evansville.
“And almost thankfully, he sort of got arrested early on before that drug was able to have more of a hold on him,” Raff said.
Teniente’s probation officer and Teniente himself are keen on getting him into a drug treatment program in prison, Raff said.
McCrory called Teniente’s speed during the 12-mile chase “unbelievable,” noting it happened at a time of night when animals could have been on the rural highway.
McCrory remarked on Teniente’s statement about doing the wrong thing, saying it sounds like classic criminal thinking.
“If you spent more time trying to do the right thing—half of the energy you spent trying to get away with things—you’d probably do a lot better,” McCrory said.
But McCrory said his statement also showed self-awareness, which she said is the first step toward making change.
The judge noted that heroin and related drugs have killed dozens of people each year in Rock County, and she recommended drug programs in prison.
Teniente showed signs of intoxication the night of the chase, and Assistant District Attorney Anne Nack is still waiting for test results to confirm that, so sentencing on Teniente’s first-offense intoxicated driving charge will wait until Oct. 10.
This story was changed on Sept. 9, 2019, to reflect the following:
The amount of a substance that tested positive for fentanyl was incorrectly reported in a story about a Rock County Court sentencing on Friday.
Devan C. Teniente, 23, possessed 0.9 gram of the substance when he was arrested June 21 in Evansville after a high-speed chase, according to the criminal complaint.