NEBRASKA CITY – A district judge has ordered victim impact statements after a Union man enter a plea Monday on allegations that he drugged women’s drinks at a Nebraska City bar.

John Saum, 43, entered no contest pleas Monday to attempted distribution of Clonazepam, a tranquilizer prescribed in the treatment of anxiety disorders.

Deputy Otoe County Attorney John Palmtag said Saum approached two women at the Wagon Wheel bar claiming he had lost a bet and offering the women drinks in shot glasses.

The bartender later alerted the women to an undissolved substance in the shot glasses.

Police had the substance tested and determined it was Clonazepam. 

When taken with alcohol, Clonazepam is known to quickly slow a person’s breathing and heart rate and can cause fainting and loss of consciousness.

Palmtag said the bartender kicked Saum out of the bar. Nemaha County prosecutors say later that night his pickup truck rear-ended a car driven by a woman who later received treatment for a head injury.

Saum was not found at the Highway 75 accident scene, but called 911 from a rural location saying he had ran out of gas. Deputies found Saum asleep behind the wheel.

Deputies say damage on Saum’s vehicle were consistent with a collision earlier that night.

Saum’s attorney Chad Wythers called the situation “sad and humiliating” but told the judge Monday he does not think victim impact statements are necessary. He said the court is well aware of the impact on victims.

Judge Julie Smith, who had sentenced Saum last week to probation for driving under influence and failure to render aid in Nemaha County,  said she would like to see the impact statements from the Nebraska City women.
She scheduled sentencing on Jan. 6.