BLOOMINGTON — A Bloomington woman's delay in following terms of her probation for a 2015 aggravated drunken driving conviction will cost her after a judge sentenced her to 2½ years in prison on Thursday.

Judge William Yoder recited a long list of failure by Anntoinetta Simmons to complete substance abuse treatment and stay away from alcohol since she was placed on 30 months of probation for her second driving under the influence conviction.

In her statement to the judge, the 40-year-old defendant said she has completed residential drug treatment at Chestnut Health Systems in Bloomington, but until recently delayed participation in follow-up care. 

The positive changes that followed drug treatment — securing a job and regaining custody of her son — have been life changing, said Simmons.

"I found a sense of being human again, having a life again," said Simmons, who recalled the dark days of being a victim of physical abuse at the hands of a former boyfriend that put her in the hospital numerous times.

"Every time I was choked and passed out, I didn't want to wake up," said Simmons, adding that her children were a big part of her motivation to complete treatment goals.

Defense lawyer Jonathan McEldowney asked that Simmons remain on probation and have a chance to prove herself.

"She's a very different woman today than she was when she began this term of probation," said he said.

Assistant State's Attorney David Fitt asked for a two-year sentence, arguing that Simmons "is as dangerous to the public as she was back then." 

Simmons' blood alcohol content was reported at 0.199, more than twice the legal limit for impaired driving, after a head-on crash in which Simmons turned the wrong way on East Empire Street in Bloomington. 

Simmons' history as a victim of domestic violence "can't be overstated," said Yoder, noting that such abuse "is a severe issue within our community and something that needs to be considered in a major way."

But Simmons' recent compliance with child welfare services and drug treatment is not sufficient to overcome months of non-compliance, said Yoder.

Simmons was given credit for 32 days in jail. She will be eligible for day-for- day credit on her sentence. 


Contact Edith Brady-Lunny at (309) 820-3276. Follow her on Twitter: @pg_blunny

McLean County Courts Reporter

McLean County courts reporter for The Pantagraph.