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Arkansan admits guilt in Oregon crash death

by The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | February 12, 2008 at 3:43 a.m.

— Andrew Kumpuris, the son of Little Rock City Director Dean Kumpuris, pleaded guilty Monday in an Oregon court to criminally negligent homicide and driving under the influence of intoxicants after a July auto wreck in Portland.

In exchange for Andrew Kumpuris' guilty plea, which comes with prison time, Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Kirsten Snowden agreed to reduce a charge of second-degree manslaughter and drop a second DUI charge.

The plea agreement, accepted by Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Julie E. Frantz, calls for a sentence of five years in prison and three years of postprison supervision. After serving the first 18 months of his prison sentence, Andrew Kumpuris, 25, becomes eligible for a boot-camp program that in Oregon is called "alternative incarceration."

"That is what I believe everyone thinks will happen, he'll eventually wind up in the alternativeincarceration program," Snowden said.

Andrew Kumpuris' attorney, Stephen Houze, wrote in an email that his client's parents and sister attended Monday's hearing.

"Andrew's error in judgment does not diminish the fact that he, too, is an extraordinary person with much to offer this world," Houze wrote.

The younger Kumpuris was the driver of a 2001 Infiniti Q30 with an Arkansas license plate that crashed July 20 in Portland on a state park road. Kumpuris had arrived by air from Arkansas only a few hours earlier. The college friend who picked him up at the airport, John Lehmann, also 25, died in the wreck. They had attended classes together at Lewis and Clark College in Portland.

Snowden said Lehmann's family did not attend court to hear the guilty plea and sentencing.

According to court records, Kumpuris' blood-alcohol level was 0.11, higher than Oregon's legal limit of 0.08. A police search of the car after the accident found what officers believed was marijuana as well as glass pipes commonly used to smoke the drug. Kumpuris also told Portland police he had smoked marijuana within a few days of the fatal crash, according to court records.

Houze wrote in his e-mail that the Kumpuris family wanted to thank Lehmann's relatives for their "compassion and forgiveness during their own time of boundless sorrow."

Arkansas, Pages 10 on 02/12/2008

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