Four years ago, Turlock resident Kenneth Shipman no longer wanted to live. Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in the U.S. military, years of mental distress had led to substance abuse issues and court cases, which in turn alienated him from his family, his friends, his job and life as he knew it.
Shipman led sheriff’s deputies on a chase in April 2016 which ended with his vehicle crashing into a high-voltage Turlock Irrigation District facility; he was driving under the influence and had hoped that the crash would kill him. When it didn’t, he fled the scene wishing that the officers would shoot him.
Shipman wasn’t shot, but was arrested. A day he had originally thought would be the end of his life turned into something miraculous when he went to court for the incident, where he was given a lifeline. Instead of serving five years in prison, he had the chance to complete the Stanislaus County Veterans Treatment Court program — an inter-agency collaborative, non-adversarial therapeutic justice program for veterans in the criminal justice system who suffer from PTSD or other psychological symptoms as a result of having served.
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