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Mon, Aug. 19

Prison, or more prison: Seth Collins gets dismal choices from 260 crash

Seth Collins

Seth Collins

CAMP VERDE -- Seth Collins, the 44-year-old Cottonwood man who allegedly drove his pickup truck across the center line of SR 260 into the path of a minivan, is looking at a lengthy prison sentence.

He was allegedly impaired by drugs when the November 2014 crash occurred.

Five air ambulances and numerous ground ambulances lined the highway to take the injured to trauma-1 and other hospitals Nov.21.

Monday, Seth Collins was given the bad news: prison or prison. Judge Michael Bluff said "it's a matter of whether he should spend the rest of his life in prison or have some life left after he is released."

The family of Jeremy Hutchinson and Sabrina Champ sat quietly watching the proceedings as they have for every other appearance

The so-called Donald Hearing shows the maximum sentence Collins could serve in prison if convicted of all counts during a jury trial and compared with the maximum sentence he could face if he took a plea agreement.

The proposed plea agreement includes all three separate cases against Collins. He was not indicted on the charges until June.

The case involving the accident includes 23 counts of aggravated assault, endangerment, felony DUI, criminal damage, and possession of drugs including meth and diazepam and paraphernalia.

A separate case involves possession of drug paraphernalia. And the third case is for promoting contraband in jail.

Deputy County Attorney Patti Wortman explained that if Collins were to face a jury and be convicted of all counts, he could be sentenced to a total of 168 ¾ years, a number inflated because so many people were injured.

If, on the others hand, Collins was to accept a plea agreement, the maximum he would face is 81.25 years in prison.

Judge Bluff asked to clarify how many years, the "minimum" sentence would work out on a plea. Wortman said it would still be 38 years.

Both the judge and the victim wanted more time to consider the numbers.

Bluff explained to the victims, that it is still early in the process. Bluff said he was "sensitive to victim losses" and that "sometimes no amount of time in prison is enough," but he said he is also sensitive to a natural life sentence for a man in his 40s.

All parties agreed to a continuation of the settlement conference on Oct. 19. Collins looked sullen during the proceeding.

He is held on a $75,000 bond.

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