WOOSTER — The Polk woman who was under the influence of drugs when she climbed a 285-foot cell tower on Milltown Road in July was sentenced to jail on Tuesday, but not before getting a lecture from the judge about how many other lives she put in danger.
In addition, Wayne County Municipal Court Judge Timothy R. VanSickle scolded Jessica Lee McCarty, 29, for "failing miserably to cooperate with the probation department" tasked with completing her pre-sentence investigation.
McCarty failed to appear for appointments with probation officers after she pleaded guilty to single misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct, inducing panic and criminal trespass a day after the July 26 incident, which shut down traffic across Wooster’s north end and resulted in dozens of first responders rushing to the scene.
"The facts of this case are appalling," VanSickle said, noting that not only did McCarty put her own life in danger, but also those of her rescuers. "There was a strong storm coming in, bad weather," he said. "It was a bad scene."
VanSickle sentenced McCarty to 180 days in jail for inducing panic, the most serious of the three charges, but agreed to suspend the last 90 days if she completes mental health and drug assessments and follows any recommendations that come as a result of them.
"This is a case where you should go directly to jail," the judge said, but told McCarty she would instead have to wait until a bed becomes available in the Wayne County Jail.
McCarty apologized to the court, but said her failure to make it to appointments with the probation department "was out of my control," and claimed she had tried to reschedule.
She also said she was sorry for her actions that night and that it would not happen again.
"You need," VanSickle said, "to apologize to every single person who put their lives on the line that day."
"I do apologize," McCarty said, adding that she has the "utmost respect" for first responders.
She also asked the judge whether she could serve her jail time on the weekends, given she has three children. That request didn’t sit well with VanSickle, who told her, "You should have thought about your three children before you got high and decided to climb that tower."
VanSickle also levied fines of $100 and costs for the disorderly conduct charge, $250 plus costs for inducing panic and $200 plus costs for criminal trespass. All fines and costs must be paid by June of 2019.
The judge told McCarty, who had been out of jail on a personal recognizance bond since pleading guilty, there was not much working in favor when it came to mitigating factors in considering her sentence. He considered the number of people who were put at risk because of her actions, plus the fact she was under the influence of drugs at the time and did not cooperate with the pre-sentence investigation as aggravating factors. McCarty also has a previous criminal record, he noted.
"Bottom line is," he told her, "I don’t think you can make it on probation."
— Reporter Tami Mosser can be reached at 330-287-1655 or email@example.com.