Before Amy Norton's plea hearing on Monday, she was prepared to accept the consequences of her actions, whatever they may be.
Norton, 40, a Bremen resident, was charged with serious injury by vehicle, driving under the influence and possession of methamphetamine after a causing a car wreck in May 2014 that left one person seriously injured.
"Since her arrest, Amy has made a complete 180-degree turn around," said Jason Swindle, Norton's defense attorney. "It's one of the most miraculous changes I've seen during my time working as an attorney."
Norton was ordered by a judge to attend a court-ordered drug rehabilitation program, Bridges of Hope, shortly after her arrest. Bridges of Hope is a non-profit organization that serves as a residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. She now works as the program's director.
"I was prepared to accept any of the consequences from my actions during the plea hearing on Monday," Norton said. "I honestly didn't think I would be back here at Bridges of Hope."
Swindle said many defendants facing the charge of serious injury by vehicle are eventually sentenced to serve a prison sentence. After agreeing to a plea deal with the state, Norton was sentenced to eight years probation and 10 weekends to serve in jail.
"She's done a tremendous amount of recovery activity and has become a leader within the recovery community," Swindle said. "After seeing her progress and the changes she's made in her own life and other people's lives, the state offered her a plea deal."
The crash occurred at an intersection on Highway 27 outside Bremen that has become notorious for car wrecks. A similar crash occurred at the same intersection in September 2015 in which a state trooper struck another vehicle, killing two teenage girls.
"Since that day, I've worked really hard to turn my mess into my message and my test into my testimony," Norton said. "I'm deeply remorseful about what I did, and I have prayed for the victim of that crash every day since then."
Norton helps mentor and oversee dozens of residents at the rehabilitation facility where she now works. She says she has devoted herself to helping those that were like herself.
"When I came to Bridges of Hope, I was brought here by the Carroll County Sheriff's Office in shackles," Norton said. "Now, I'm trying to reach people that are just like I was. When you're using, you don't think you're hurting anyone but yourself. I found out the hard way that you can cause real damage to other people's lives with your choices."
After almost two years in sobriety, Norton said she is amazed at where she is in life.
"I want people out there that are like I was to know that there is hope and you can change your life if you want to," Norton said.