Passed out drunk: O'Fallon dad pleads guilty in dead toddler case

For the News-DemocratApril 17, 2014 

A former O'Fallon man pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of involuntary manslaughter in the death of his 23-month-old son.

Wayne M. Hubert, 33, was accused of being passed out drunk while his toddler son, Nathan, died in a hot car in June.

He also pleaded guilty to endangering the life of his now 6-year-old daughter.

Hubert was sentenced to four years in the Southwest Illinois Correctional Facility in East St. Louis with two years mandatory supervised release for involuntary manslaughter, and 364 days to be served concurrently with a stipulated period of probation following time served for the charge of endangerment. He is to report to the jail May 4.

Judge John Baricevic agreed to Hubert's request to report to the St. Clair County Jail before being transported elsewhere, according to Hubert's Attorney Thomas Q. Keefe, III. Baricevic ruled Hubert is not a flight risk.

Baricevic is counting 118 days of home detention against his sentence. According to St. Clair County Assistant State's Attorney Kristi Hodel, Hubert's voluntary 54 days of drug and alcohol rehabilitation, which he served July 1-25 and Oct. 9-26, will not be taken off his sentence.

Hubert also faces charges in Madison County for driving under the influence of alcohol, failure to wear a seatbelt and transportation of alcohol by a driver. These charges stem from an Oct. 8 incident, almost five months after the death of his son, and the day before his most recent stint in rehab. Hubert's next court appearance is set for April 25.

Emergency officials responded to a call of an unresponsive toddler June 20 at the Hubert residence on Joy Drive. Nathan was pronounced dead at 5:52 p.m., more than three hours after he was left inside a hot car.

Hubert was taken into custody after authorities discovered he had passed out from intoxication on the floor of his home while leaving his son unattended and strapped into a carseat in a black Hyundai Elantra, which was parked in the driveway.

O'Fallon Police officials confirmed the toddler had been in the vehicle without air conditioning and only one window partially cracked on a day that outside temperatures ranged from 85 to 90 degrees. When rescue workers arrived on scene, Nathan's temperature was 104.6.

Hodel said during court proceedings that Hubert's blood alcohol level at 7:10 p.m. was 0.199, and again at 9:15 p.m. it was 0.193 -- more than twice the legal limit of 0.08.

According to police, the father was asked about burns on the child's arms and he replied, "The child was in the car since about 2:30 p.m.; please help. I am sorry."

Keefe declined to comment , but did say previously, "My client is living elsewhere (not at 323 Joy Drive, O'Fallon), but does still have contact with his daughter."

Hubert was married to Tere Hubert, the children's mother, who was at work at the time of the incident. According to court records, Tere Hubert was granted divorce Nov. 20.

Tere Hubert was unable to be reached Thursday, but said in a previous interview that she no longer is in contact with Wayne Hubert. "I don't have anything to say other than, me and my daughter are doing the best we can and trying to get on with our own lives at this point," she said.

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