Man who caused crash critically injuring South Bend firefighter sentenced

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The man accused in a drunk-driving crash that seriously injured a South Bend firefighter has been sentenced.

Oswalso Mendez was handed a sentence of 27 months and four days in prison after being convicted of operating while intoxicated causing serious bodily injury.

The crash happened on Jan. 16 at Darden Road and S.R. 933 when Mendez crashed into the back of Mike Kowalski’s vehicle, which then pushed him into traffic, causing another crash.

Kowalski, 61, was off-duty when the collision happened.

Kowalski woke up from a medically-induced coma in March and was transferred to St. Vincent Hospital in Carmel.

Kowalski has served with the South Bend Fire Department for 38 years. He was due to retire in a few months when the collision occurred.

A GoFundMe site is collecting donations to help with Kowalski’s medical bills.

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