Jim Hagarty surpasses community service obligations

Jim Hagarty surpasses community service obligations »Play Video
Jim Hagarty addresses crowd as part of DUI Survivor Impact Panel
YAKIMA, Wash. -- In his own words, Jim Hagarty called his DUI arrest last year humbling and he doesn't want that to be his legacy.

As KIMA reported Monday night, the Yakima County prosecutor had to perform community service as part of his probation.

It didn't take long to fulfill his 24-hour requirement that he says changed him.

"Your ability to make those decisions, your response time, your reaction time are all impaired," says Yakima County Prosecutor Jim Hagarty in front of a crowd of people convicted on DUI or related offenses.

Jim Hagarty once sat in this audience required to listen to the tragic accidents that can happen when you drink and drive. Now, he shares his story as part of the DUI Survivor Impact Panel.

"I'm the perpetrator," Hagarty said. "I could have been somebody who was sitting over there with a felony DUI, you know, had I been doing it for years. I could be over there on vehicular assault or vehicular homicide and then I'd have to live with that, you know, in my life. And, I, I don't want to be that person."

Dianne Cyr is the director of the monthly panel sessions overseeing Hagarty's community service. She regularly shares her story of her son's death at the hands of a drunk driver. Hagarty's perspective is something new.

"I've never had anybody on that side want to stand up and say, 'I messed up,'" Dianne Cyr said.

"I'm able to try to give back for what I got out of it and hopefully making some difference," Hagarty said.

Hagarty performed the bulk of his community service volunteering at The Seasons Performance Hall, something his wife exposed him to. He helped with the remodeling, moved pews, worked concessions at events and more.

"The toilets were backing up so I'm down in the, in water in my shoes and mopping up the backup of the toilet and it, you know, and then I realized, you know this is part of volunteering, just get in and do what you can," Hagarty said.

"He definitely got his hands dirty doing community service here, said The Seasons Director of Operations Ellie Strosahl. "It's, it's not just a cushy job."

Hagarty fulfilled his community service obligation back in February. Here's the thing. He hasn't stopped.

"He's been back. He's one of our, now one of our most consistent volunteers," Strosahl said.

"I was pretty surprised actually for him to continue doing it, you know," Cyr said. "But, he's there every time."

"Are you a different Jim Hagarty?"

"I think so, I think I am," Hagarty said. "I think I'm a little more attentive to other people. I think I'm a little more attentive to the world around me, little more to the community. I'm not the guy that on that day was involved in that, who was in the news."

Hagarty says a friend gave him a book after his DUI arrest that changed his approach to alcohol. He says the book titled "Under the Influence" gave him a complete understanding of what alcohol can do, both physically and mentally as well as the legal consequences.

Hagarty says he keeps it on the nightstand next to his bed as a reminder.