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story.lead_photo.caption Sharon Shinn

A Cabot woman who earned her fifth drunken-driving conviction by running over a jogging Jacksonville man "like a speed bump," according to a witness, was ordered Monday to pay the victim $900,000.

Jaylin Anderson, a 31-year-old father of one, said he still lives in pain, both emotional and physical, from the injuries inflicted by Sharon Renee Shinn, 36, in the Feb. 1, 2018, collision in the 1600 block of John Harden Drive in Jacksonville.

Anderson was having his day in Pulaski County Circuit Court after suing Shinn for negligence. Sentenced to six years in prison last October, Shinn never responded to the lawsuit and did not show up for Monday's damages hearing.

Anderson said he remembers little about being hit by Shinn. He said he was just trying to get some exercise after missing a visit to the gym.

"I was just running," he told Pulaski County Circuit Judge Alice Gray. "I don't remember much. I do remember being hit, hitting the ground. I hit my head. I remember her driving off" before he blacked out.

But the pain is with him every day, Anderson said. He had to go to the emergency room twice to get the right medical treatment for what turned out to be a concussion along with heavy bruising and scrapes on the rest of his body.

"My head was hurting so bad I was afraid to go to sleep" two days after the collision, Anderson testified, explaining his second emergency room visit. He's still seeing a neurologist and is trying to decide whether to undergo a risky neck surgery to alleviate his suffering.

For a while he couldn't concentrate enough to carry on a conversation, and only recently has he been able to sleep normally, he told the judge. He lost his $12-an-hour warehouse job, and the stress of recuperating caused his 10-year relationship to fall apart just as the couple were making plans to get married, Anderson said.

Shinn had just been arrested two weeks before the collision for driving while intoxicated, Anderson's lawyer told the judge.

But Shinn never installed a court-ordered ignition interlock device on her car, which would have required her to pass a breath test before she could drive the vehicle, attorney Meredith Moore with the Rainwater, Holt & Sexton law firm told the judge.

Police caught up to Shinn about 30 minutes after she ran over Anderson. She had a 32-ounce Sonic cup in her car, about a fourth of it full of vodka, Moore said, asking the judge to impose significant damages.

"We know [Shinn] didn't care because she didn't check on him," Moore said. "She didn't care enough to show up today."

With testimony from Yolanda Holmes from the Arkansas chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving that about 29 percent of DWI convicts re-offend, Moore urged the judge to make Shinn an example to serve as a deterrent to others like her.

Moore asked the judge to award Anderson at least $800,000, with $500,000 of that in punitive damages -- $100,000 for each of Shinn's five DWI convictions.

Anderson's compensatory damages for lost wages, his medical bills, pain and suffering added up to at least $100,000, Moore said, stating that Anderson was entitled under the law to at least three times that amount, or $300,000.

Gray set Shinn's penalty at $300,000 in compensatory damages and $600,000 in punitive damages.

The judge also heard testimony from the investigator, Jacksonville Police Department Sgt. Amanda Smith.

Smith told the judge that an eyewitness, Brooklyn Bays, who was at the nearby Papito's Mexican Grill restaurant, described Shinn's car hitting Anderson "like a speed bump." The impact threw Anderson several feet and tore off the driver's side mirror, Smith testified, showing the broken mirror to the judge.

Smith said police almost immediately knew who they were looking for and what she was driving because Shinn's then-husband, David Chad Shinn of Atkins, walked up to the scene and told police his wife was possibly responsible. David Shinn said his wife had just left him driving very drunkenly in a white Nissan Altima, Smith testified. Court records show the couple have since divorced.

Smith said police caught up with Sharon Shinn after seeing her drive by. Shinn smelled of alcohol, slurred her words and couldn't stand without police holding her, Smith said. Shinn also did not have car insurance, Smith testified.

Last October, Shinn, also known as Sharon Skaggs, pleaded guilty to felony charges of driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident causing injury, along with misdemeanor counts of driving on a suspended license and refusal to submit to a sobriety test. She was sentenced to a six-year prison term that will be followed by a six-year suspended sentence.

For her January 2018 drunken driving arrest in Cabot, Shinn pleaded guilty in June 2018 to felony driving while intoxicated and misdemeanor charges of refusal to submit and careless driving. She was sentenced to four years in prison with two years suspended.

Metro on 07/09/2019

Print Headline: Victim of DWI awarded $900,000; witness says car struck jogger, left


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Archived Comments

  • tngilmer
    July 9, 2019 at 3:42 a.m.

    Wanna bet she is driving drunk within a week or less of her release? Six years was not enough time. Why wait till she murders somebody before locking her away for much longer?

    July 9, 2019 at 6:50 a.m.

    "A Cabot woman who earned her fifth drunken-driving conviction" - - very funny -- she 'earned' a conviction.
    Not funny at all -- why wasn't she in prison. The law that makes the 4th DWI a felony (even without other charges such as leaving the scene or causing an injury) was passed for a reason. I guess it's now time to amend that law to eliminate partial sentences with probation and require full prison time just to keep them off the roads.
    The problem, of course, is that too many politicians (including prosecutors and judges) and friends/family of politicians have multiple DWI charges (Gov's son for example). So they look the other way - and innocent folks keep getting injured or killed.

  • JA40
    July 9, 2019 at 7:39 a.m.

    What's wrong with the judges? Why don't they put her out of society for life? In my opinion, the judges should be punished.

  • LRCrookAtty
    July 9, 2019 at 7:40 a.m.

    DWI laws are some of the most strict. Prosecutors cannot make a deal and Judges cannot just dismiss. They must be tried, either before a jury or judge.

  • Jfish
    July 9, 2019 at 7:42 a.m.

    I doubt that Anderson will ever see a dime. Shinn needs to be put away for life but this is Arkansas and usually when a motorist hits a pedestrian or cyclist, they are given preferential treatment and the minimum sentence.

  • glow
    July 9, 2019 at 8:07 a.m.

    Alcohol is legal, and it kills many and ruins families. I object to the rampant use of alcohol in our society, even in Hallmark movies where everyone celebrates with a glass of wine. I do not object for religious reasons.

    July 9, 2019 at 8:28 a.m.

    LRCA -- One of the problems is that to avoid some of the supposed requirements of the DWI laws - the offenders don't get charged with DWI -- they get charged with some other driving offense requiring no prison time and maybe a fine. But look at this case -- multiple DWIs and it appears that she got lots-o-probation even when sentenced. That puts her back on the road. That's a prosecutor/judge problem.

  • TheGoodGuy
    July 9, 2019 at 8:28 a.m.

    Yeah, like she is going to have ANY money to pay that $900,000 judgement. That guy may have "won", but he'll never see a penny of that money, more than likely. And I'm with others when I say that she will be behind the wheel again, drunk as a skunk, within 1 week of release. She needs a court appointed babysitter with her at all times to slap drinks out of her hand as soon as she picks them up.
    On the topic of driving with no insurance, I am willing to bet that at least 1/3 of the people in the Central Arkansas area do this on a daily basis. Hell, a lot of folks drive around with no tags or seriously expired tags on the vehicle. If they can't pay or be bothered to make the car legal with tags, what makes you think they will have any insurance. Basically, NO person should be allowed to drive the vehicle off the car lot without registering the car first. If you can't afford the registration, you can't afford the car. Screw this "30-days to pay the taxes and register the car" garbage. Do it right then at the dealership when the car is purchased. Dealerships are the only ones able to issue paper tags, so they should have someone on staff to do the rest of it. As far as buying from individuals, if a cop sees a car driving around with no plates, pull them over and give them a warning.
    Insurance is a much more difficult thing to see quickly if a person has, but there has to be SOME way. Maybe a new sticker on the license plate since we don't do 2 any more that will indicate current level of insurance and expiration? That might cause a new burden on companies, but since we have such a problem with people driving without insurance around here it might help.
    Our police don't do their jobs. The government is no better because they can't find a way to ensure that laws are just or are enforced. I don't understand how we continue to function around here.

  • titleist10
    July 9, 2019 at 8:32 a.m.

    Do you really think she has $900000 to pay?

  • GeneralMac
    July 9, 2019 at 9:23 a.m.

    Doesn't the law state pedestrians must walk/jog facing traffic?

    If it doesn't, it SHOULD.

    It gives a pedestrian a chance of SEEING an idiot driver coming at him.