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Collision victim's family upset over driver's second chances


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POSTED: Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Family members of a woman who died in a head-on collision 10 years ago are frustrated that the man who killed her while driving high on drugs and alcohol keeps getting second chances.

For the April 1999 traffic death of Arlene Miske, a state judge sentenced Carl Cornelle Jr. in 2001 to five years' probation, including one year in jail for first-degree negligent homicide.

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The following year, Cornelle was back in court in front of a different judge for failing to comply with the terms of his release. The judge revoked Cornelle's probation and resentenced him to a new five years of probation.

He was back in court again in March 2004 in front of a third judge on a fourth-degree theft conviction. The third judge revoked the second probation term and resentenced Cornelle to five more years' probation.

Cornelle again failed to comply with the terms of his release and was back in court in February 2008. The same judge who saw him in 2004 revoked his earlier probation and resentenced him to another five-year term of probation.

This time the judge placed Cornelle in the HOPE probation program, which more closely monitors felons. That put Cornelle under Circuit Judge Steven Alm's supervision. In March, Alm sent Cornelle to jail for 30 days for violating his probation.

Cornelle was arrested last month after the drug treatment facility he was attending terminated him.

“;When is enough going to be enough?”; said Genette Simpkins, Miske's niece. “;He's been given so many chances and he's been given the resources, and he's taken it all for granted.”;

The original judge in the case ordered a lifetime license revocation.

The state wants Alm to revoke Cornelle's latest probation and sentence him to 10 years in prison for first-degree negligent homicide.

Cornelle's lawyer asked Alm for an opportunity to see whether Cornelle can go to another drug treatment center.

Alm said he understands the family's frustration. But because the case is new to him, he scheduled another hearing next month to allow the state probation office to evaluate whether Cornelle should be referred to another treatment center.