BEATRICE – A Fairbury woman will serve a five-year probation term after being convicted in a Gage County drunk-driving crash that injured another woman, who now must use a wheelchair.

48-year-old Rebecca Snyder was sentenced for felony driving under the influence and causing serious bodily injury, for a July 8th 2021 collision that injured Jill Petersen. Gage County District Judge Rick Schreiner spent several minutes reviewing a victim-impact statement before sentencing Snyder to the lengthy probation term and revoking her license for a 10-year period. Factors judges consider, Schreiner said, pointed toward a prison term.

"Each and every one of those factors weighs on the level of...I should send you to prison....each and every one of those. But, I'm going to honor the victim in this matter who obviously has more grace than any of us...that I've seen in that letter, over and over."

The victim was supportive of a recommendation by the state and defense that Snyder receive probation.  The judge told the defendant, "You chose to drink and drive that need to make different choices. You should have in the back of your mind every day what your selfish, self-centered choices caused."

The judge ordered that Snyder pay restitution to the victim of $2,200….an amount agreed to by both sides in a civil judgment. The victim, Petersen…and several family members were in court when the sentence was announced. Schreiner's sentencing order includes 15-day waiverable jail terms to start on the anniversary of the accident each year of the probation.

"You'll regret it for the rest of your life when you have to report to probation, when you're unable to drive, when it costs you some money. She'll regret it for the rest of her life because she can't walk right and she can't hold her five month old granddaughter the way she would like to. And, she won't be able to participate in all the things that a grandmother would like to do. And she did nothing, to deserve that."

Snyder apologized to the victim and admitted she is an alcoholic. The judge told the defendant its time she stood up and accepted that truth. Snyder’s criminal record included past D-U-I incidents in Kansas and Iowa.

"I was astonished, at the end of this letter when I saw that Miss Petersen has such a kind heart that she is actually supporting a term of probation for you. I wish some days I could summon that type of forgiveness....and just pure grace."

The judge said there is nothing Snyder can do to change the life of the victim, but that if Snyder sobers up and gives back to society by helping others achieve sobriety…he’s sure the victim would appreciate that.