Crashes, joyrides end in prison

A man who wrecked four vehicles in two separate crashes while joyriding in a stolen car has received a 2½-year prison term.

But by ordering the time be served consecutively, rather than concurrently, to sentences imposed by other courts, Bartholomew Superior Court 1 Judge Jim Worton ensured that Zachary A. Goins, 28, will spend a much longer time behind bars.

During Wednesday’s sentencing, the defendant told the judge he expects to receive at least two more years from a Marion County judge for breaking his probation after two convictions in Indianapolis.

Those convictions involve separate physical assaults on two former girlfriends that occurred in April 2012 and in May 2013, deputy prosecutor Bryce Wagner said.

Goins, who has moved back and forth between Columbus and Columbia, Tennessee, a number of times in recent years, pleaded guilty Nov. 23 in Worton’s court to two Level 6 felonies — receiving stolen auto parts and operating a vehicle while under the influence.

Goins was driving a 1982 Chevrolet Camaro on the afternoon of July 8 — a car that had been reported stolen two days earlier from the parking lot of the Dorel Juvenile Group manufacturing plant, 2525 State St., according to a probable-cause affidavit.

Police were first sent to Hawcreek Avenue after receiving numerous 911 calls from motorists who said a reckless driver was traveling the wrong way in the 2200 block of California Street, Columbus police said.

A short time later, the vehicle — identified as the Camaro — reportedly ran a red light at 25th Street and Central Avenue and was involved in a hit-and-run accident a short distance away at 25th and Hawcreek Avenue, police reported.

The driver, later identified as Goins, was then involved in another crash in the 2300 block of Hawcreek Avenue that disabled the Camaro, police said.

After examining photos of the extensive damage from the collisions, Worton told Goins he’s “pretty lucky nobody got killed.”

During the hearing, Wagner stated statistics from Goins’ criminal record that include:

17 arrests from 2006 through 2013

14 convictions (five felonies and nine misdemeanors)

Nine separate probation revocations

Testifying on the stand, Goins said he had used methamphetamine to stay up for four straight days before stealing the car. The defendant said he didn’t sleep for the next two days until he caused the wrecks.

Goins described his actions as “a very dumb mistake,” made while he was distraught over breaking up with another girlfriend.

However, the owner of the Camaro that Goins was driving, Adam Burch, testified during the sentencing hearing that there were no mistakes.

“Everything you’ve done has been a choice,” Burch told Goins in the courtroom. “If you had any love or care for your family, you would have straightened up long ago.”

When Burch said he had read Facebook posts written by Goins that showed no concern for others, the defendant attempted to reply and was immediately told to be quiet by the judge.

“This victim understandably has resentment,” Worton told Goins. “You’ve earned this. You caused this.”

When Burch then said a few minutes later that Goins wasn’t worth the love and support his mother had given him, Goins spoke out again, this time with anger.

“You’d better watch your mouth,” Goins told Burch.

Wagner described that statement as a veiled threat and said it showed Goins has no genuine remorse for his crimes.

When officers took Goins into custody last July, he initially denied criminal involvement but then bragged how the stolen Camaro was the fastest car he had ever driven, a court affidavit stated.

Author photo
Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.