James Idziak, former Comstock Park teacher, sentenced to 5 months in jail for high-speed chase—(mlive.com)

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Physician desk reference states:

antidepressants can cause a craving for alcohol and alcohol abuse.  Also, the liver cannot metabolize the antidepressant and the alcohol simultaneously,  thus leading to higher levels of both alcohol and the antidepressant in the human body.


by Barton Deiters | The Grand Rapids Press
Tuesday May 05, 2009, 3:25 PM

GRAND RAPIDS — A volatile mix of booze and prescription pills was the catalyst for a series of bad decisions that demolished the career of a well-regarded Comstock Park teacher.

That’s what the attorney for James Idziak told a pair of Kent County judges Tuesday before the former educator-turned-landscaper was sentenced to five months in jail for leading police on a 26-mile, high-speed chase last spring.

Kent County Circuit Judge Paul Sullivan allowed Idziak work release time, but he will have to spend all non-work hours at the jail.

Sullivan rejected the probation department’s suggestion that Idziak be given community service instead of jail time for his fleeing and eluding conviction.

Sullivan said he had watched video of the chase recorded by a police dashboard camera. He felt a jail sentence was necessary to keep it in line with other fleeing and eluding cases where suspects’ behavior was far less risky.

“If I don’t give you some incarceration … then what do I say to the next person who comes in here with circumstances that are less serious than yours?” Sullivan said.

Idziak must report to jail on May 26.

He did not make a statement, but his lawyer, Michael F. Kelly, told the judge that Idziak’s behavior was affected by taking prescription drugs Zoloft and Adderal XR, a long-lasting amphetamine, in prescribed doses that were five times what the manufacturer recommends.

“The combination of drugs prescribed to Mr. Idziak created a perfect storm that escalated his alcohol consumption from that of a minimal consumption pattern to one of drinking to excess,” Kelly said. “The prescribed medications significantly contributed to the behavior on the date he was arrested.”

Kelly made that same argument Tuesday to Rockford District Judge Steven Servaas, where Idziak appeared about an hour after his sentencing in Grand Rapids.

There, Idziak was sentenced after his no-contest plea for supplying alcohol to minors.

According to investigators, Idziak went on April 18, 2008, to the Party World Store on Alpine Avenue NW, then supplied alcohol to eight students, ages 15 to 18. Authorities say he also provided a hotel room where alcohol was available to three girls, ages 15 and 16.

Kelly said the overprescriptions also were a significant factor in Idziak’s actions in Alpine Township.

Servaas said Idziak’s actions “seemed abnormal” when compared to the man’s law-abiding past. The judge sentenced Idziak to 30 days in jail, which will be served at the same time as the 150-day sentence from Sullivan, which means no additional jail time.

Idziak was in court with his wife and refused to comment either in or outside court, but Kelly said the sentence, while harsher than he would have liked, was clearly well thought out by Sullivan.

He said his client has his alcohol consumption, his emotional health and his life under control, and his family life is intact. Idziak works in landscaping and hopes to be a contributing member of society, Kelly said.

E-mail Barton Deiters: bdeiters@grpress.com