Fremont man sentenced to 4-15 years in prison for deadly drunk driving crash.

November 22, 2021


Fremont man sentenced to 4-15 years in prison for deadly drunk driving crash.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

HART — A 46-year-old Fremont man was sentenced to four to 15 years in prison in 27th Circuit Court Monday, Nov. 22, for a drunk driving crash one year ago that killed Geneva Mae Shivley, 39, of Fremont.

Joseph Ramiro Auger pleaded “no contest” to operating while intoxicated causing death, Sept. 13.

Shivley, who was a mother of two girls, was a passenger in the vehicle that Auger was driving the night of Nov. 17, 2020 on Wilke Road in Greenwood Township. Auger crashed into a tree shortly before 9 p.m., and he was not injured. 

A second count of driving while license suspended causing death was dismissed.

Shivley’s daughters, her mother and cousin provided emotional victim allocution statements Monday. 

“My whole world stopped,” said one of her daughters. “Do you know how hard it was to go up there watching my mother die for days?”

Shively was critically injured and transported by ambulance to Mercy Health in Muskegon, where she died four days later Nov. 21, 2020.

The daughter said her family had to make the gut-wrenching decision to take her mother off life support.

“I need my mom for so many things, and I can’t go to her. I want to know if you thought about me and my sister when you crashed into that tree? Now we have to live with the consequences of your actions. My mother had so much life to live and you took it all away.”

Shively’s cousin, Mary Beth McDonald, described Auger’s long history of drunk driving convictions in Texas and Michigan. McDonald said Auger was convicted of drunk driving in Texas in 1999, 2005 and 2007 and was sentenced to three years in prison for the third one. In Michigan, he was convicted of drunk driving June 4, 2018 and May 21, 2020. She said he was scheduled for sentencing Dec. 9, 2020, and was out on bond awaiting sentencing when the deadly crash occurred. Nov. 17, 2020.

Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon confirmed that Auger has three prior drunk driving convictions in Texas and two in Michigan, so this is his sixth offense.

McDonald said one of the daughters recently graduated from high school “without her mother by her side,” and the other girl celebrated her 11th birthday without her mom. 

A statement from Shively’s mother, Nancy Shively, was read in court by one of the girls. She said she is raising the girls in their mother’s absence.

“I will never be able to pick up my phone and call my only daughter. You took part of our life when you crashed into that tree. I will never get my daughter back.

“This is a horribly tragic incident,” said Bizon. 

“Everyone loses,” said defense attorney Heath Lynch. “This family has lost a loved one. Joe is now going to lose his freedom, and he’s going to lose it for a long time.

“Joe hopes that you can all find healing,” said Lynch, “and hopes that you can someday be at peace. He’s a man who has tremendous difficulty in dealing with the aftermath of this. He has never blamed anyone but himself, and he will deal with this for the rest of his life. He knows going forward alcohol and controlled substances can have no role in his life, and he will take advantage of any treatment opportunities while in prison. He is committed to sobriety.”

“There are not any words that can express how sorry I am,” said Auger while crying. 

“This is a situation about a year ago on that fateful day you made a choice, and it was a bad one,” said Judge Bradley G. Lambrix. “Clearly this was a tragedy, but this was a situation that could have been avoided. Not only did it cause Miss Shivley’s death but the pain and suffering that the family will endure I can’t put a price on that.”

Judge Lambrix gave Auger credit for two days served in jail.

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