LEBANON, Ind. — A Boone County judge has sentenced a convicted drunk driver to six years in jail after he was found guilty of being behind the wheel and causing a serious crash that left an innocent driver paralyzed from the neck down.

Ryann S. Early, 36, of Whitestown was sentenced on Feb. 9 to six years in the Indiana Department of Corrections followed by another four years of probation.

Booking photo of Ryann Early (Provided by Boone County Sheriff’s Department)

According to court documents, Early was accused of crossing the center line and colliding head-on with a Honda Accord on Oct. 18, 2020, while driving on East County Road 400 South near Whitestown. Investigators said Early had been driving 79 miles per hour in a posted 40 miles per hour zone and had been attempting to pass another vehicle — despite a double yellow line — when he collided with the Honda Accord traveling in the opposite direction.

A blood draw of Early revealed him to have a blood alcohol level of .142 at the time of the crash, one and a half times the legal limit.

The Boone County Prosecutor’s Office said the driver of the Honda Accord suffered significant injuries as a result of the collision. The driver is a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down, who requires assistance for all self-care activities and mobility.

“This case is a sad example of how drunk driving cases can adversely impact countless lives,” said Boone County Prosecutor Ken T. Eastwood. “What is even worse is that this case and others like are completely preventable and should never happen. Impaired driving continues to be a significant public safety issue in our community and country. Drunk driving is the number one filed and litigated case in Boone County. Impaired drivers continue to kill over 10,000 people a year in our country, and the past year Indiana has seen an increase in impaired driving deaths.”

In November, Early was found guilty of seven different counts relating to the drunk driving crash including two counts of causing catastrophic injury when operating a vehicle while intoxicated, both Level 4 felonies.