Homeowner avoids jail time, court grants diversion

Yosvany Garcia

In a plea deal approved by Sumner County Criminal Court Judge Dee David Gay, Portland homeowner Yosvany Garcia will avoid jail time in his vandalism case that stemmed from illegally dumping spent motor oil into a Portland storm drain, contaminating a local creek.

On Dec. 2, Gay agreed to reduce Garcia’s charge from felony vandalism to misdemeanor vandalism, sentencing him to 11 months, 29 days in jail with 75 percent required to serve. Gay then suspended the jail time to time served in the Sumner County Jail on Aug. 6, 2015. Garcia will remain on unsupervised probation for the remainder of the sentence.

Garcia was indicted for vandalism (over $10,000) after he was identified as the person responsible for the hazardous and reckless dumping of spent motor oil into a storm drain on Grant Court in the Evergreen subdivision in Portland, which contaminated city storm drains and an adjacent creek. According to a press release issued by the Portland Police Department, Garcia admitted to his involvement in the illegal dumping.

Workers from the Portland sewer department were called to Grant Court on the morning of July 30, 2015, when neighboring homeowners noticed the creek that runs behind their homes had turned black. Workers traced the flow of the water back to the storm drain located in the cul-de-sac and within walking distance of 202 Grant Court; the drain had motor oil in it that appeared to be recently poured. Telltale drips on the road pointed toward 202 Grant Court along with spilled oil on the home’s lawn. And sitting next to the garage were several empty containers of motor oil, as well as a drain pain used to empty old oil during an oil change.

City officials estimate that 10 gallons of used motor oil had been poured into the drain, which runs into the creek. The city hired Hepaco to remediate the damages to the drain and the creek — to the tune of $20,000.

“The real impact on the city is the environmental impact illegal dumping has on the water supply,” City of Portland Public Works Superintendent Thomas McCormick said at the scene. “This is a common sense thing — not to pour spent oil into the drain systems of neighborhoods. This will have an environmental effect wherever it goes. You worry about the wildlife with fish, the ecosystem of that area, private wells, and groundwater itself.”

Judge Gay ordered Garcia to pay restitution to the City of Portland in the amount of $19,963.93 at the rate of $200 per month, to begin 30 days from Dec. 2.

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