JEFFERSON — Soap opera star Freddie Smith was sentenced Wednesday to two years probation and a one-year driver’s license suspension for a crash in Kingsville Township that seriously injured his girlfriend in October.
In addition, he was fined $1,375 plus court costs and he must attend a driver’s intervention program and speak before Ashtabula County high school students about the dangers of drinking and driving — all within the next year, or else he will go to prison for one year, Ashtabula County Common Pleas Judge Gary Yost said.
Smith, 26, of Los Angeles, Calif., pleaded guilty in December to vehicular assault, a fourth-degree felony, and operating a vehicle while intoxicated, a first-degree misdemeanor.
On Wednesday, he expressed remorse to the court, apologizing for his actions.
“I understand it didn’t just affect me, but everyone,” he said. “I will never ever drive and drink again. It was a mistake ... I am grateful Alyssa (Tabit) and I are alive and she’s going to be OK.”
The details of Tabit’s injuries have not been revealed to the public, but she was in critical condition and had surgery after the crash. Her mother, Valerie Tabit, spoke to the court, praising Smith for his love and care of her daughter.
“I ask that you not send Freddie to prison; he made a huge mistake, a major life lesson for him,” she said. “He’s been right there to help her.”
Valerie Tabit said her daughter, who also lives North Hollywood, Calif., wanted to be in court Wednesday to support Smith, but she had an appointment with her orthopedic surgeon.
Valerie Tabit said the family just wants to move forward without any further trauma, which started after Smith and Alyssa Tabit attended a wedding reception on Oct. 7. Smith’s Mazda 6 crossed the center line at about 12:40 a.m., traveled to the left side of Route 84 and hit a culvert, causing the vehicle to flip end over end.
Smith’s blood alcohol test result was .093, when the legal limit in Ohio is .08, according to Ohio State Highway Patrol reports.
Ashtabula County Prosecutor Nicholas Iarocci said Tabit also was intoxicated when she got into the car with Smith. Her blood alcohol test result was .283, reports show. Iarocci said he took all factors of the case into consideration before recommending a driver’s license suspension and community service.
Smith’s attorney, Thomas Simon of Ashtabula, said this situation was a “glitch in an otherwise outstanding young man.”
After the judge handed down Smith’s sentence, family members embraced and cried tears of relief.
A native of Ashtabula, Smith has been free on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond.
Smith plays the part of Sonny Kiriakis on the daytime soap opera, “Days of Our Lives.” Before sentencing, he said he was grateful for his fans’ support.