Justin Scott Goecke, 29, of Jackson, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one count of criminal vehicular operation-great bodily harm, a felony.
Under a guilty plea agreement, the defendant gives up the right to a 12 person jury trial, subpoena any witnesses that would be in favor of the defendant, have an omnibus hearing, and more. When Judge Stephen Ferrazzano asked Goecke if he was willing to give up these rights, Goecke refrained from answering for a moment before silently weeping. Ferrazzano allowed Goecke a 10 to 15-minute recess. When Goecke returned, he agreed to enter the guilty plea agreement.
The factual basis statement in court included the following:
The crash took place on April 10th. Goecke had previously stepped on a nail and took hydrocodone [an opioid used to treat severe pain]. Goecke didn't have a prescription. On the morning of April 10th, Goecke was driving and ended up getting into an accident. The vehicle had bald tires, and the road was icy. The other person in the other vehicle suffered great bodily harm. The hydrocodone was in Goecke's system at the time of the accident.
The court complaint states Goecke was northbound on 640th Ave., Butterfield, before moving into the southbound lane and striking the other vehicle. The complaint also describes the victim's injuries as an ankle fracture with bone loss, a part of her tibia broken or missing, an open femur fracture, five broken ribs, broken sternum, and an air pocket in her lung.
Nicholas Anderson, representing the state, said the victim is still unable to walk, and there is no estimate to when she can start to attempt to do so.
The court scheduled Goecke for sentencing on November 26th.