Work in Sports
Former open-wheel driver to spend 180 days in jail
Posted: Friday May 19, 2000 04:21 PM
LEBANON, Ohio (AP) -- Former race car driver David "Salt" Walther was sentenced Thursday to 180 days in jail for endangering his daughter's life by driving while under the influence of drugs.
Warren County Court Judge James Heath ordered the maximum jail sentence and a $500 fine for Walther. He will serve his sentence in the Warren County jail.
Walther, 52, of Middletown, was found guilty May 2 on a charge of child endangering. He was accused of being under the influence of drugs on March 19 when he returned his 4-year-old daughter to her mother in Springboro.
Walther acknowledged past problems with drug addiction but denied he was under the influence while with his daughter.
The girl's mother, Cindy Heitman, said Walther fell as he climbed from his car and nearly fell again when his daughter ran to him for a farewell hug.
Walther, who raced in the Indianapolis 500 seven times, was convicted in August 1998 of taking drugs into a detention facility. He was serving a 100-day sentence for failure to pay $359 a month in child support and was returning from work release when he was caught carrying three prescription painkillers stuffed into the fingers of a glove he wears over a hand injured in a fiery 1973 crash at the 500.
Heath said Thursday that he would consider freeing Walther on work release once he had sought further treatment for his addiction.
Lebanon is about 25 miles north of Cincinnati.