Former Indy Racing League driver Jon Herb has been sentenced to 25 years in prison and lifetime probation in Florida for 2 charges of lewd and lascivious molestation and 13 counts of possession of child pornography. Sentencing came more than 2-years after his initial arrest in October 2013, when he was taken into custody by Collier County police after his wife discovered videos and photographs of nude girls on his laptop, including images of Herb (allegedly) engaged in sexual acts with a girl said to have appeared to be 4 years old. He will be required to serve at least 85% of his prison sentence under current Florida law.
According to a report published by the Naples Daily News in May, Herb’s lawyer, Jerry Berry, filed a notice that he intended to opt for an insanity defense strategy at trial, citing the that Herb suffered “a mild neurocognitive disorder with behavioral disturbances, coupled with previous head trauma and brain lesions.” However, he offered no comment about the plea deal reached with prosecutors to avoid further court proceedings.
Jon Herb made his IRL debut in 2000. He competed in the Delphi Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway, finishing 22nd after withdrawing with “handling” problems. He spent much of the remaining part of the year driving in the ARCA series where he failed to finish higher than 11th place. The following year he came in 27th in the 2004 Indy 500. He then started in 5 other races, with a career best to date of 9th at Texas. Although Herb made 6 starts in 2002, he did not qualify at the Indianapolis 500 that year.
Herb then moved to the Infiniti Pro Series in 2004, where he co-owned his team with Matt Young. His first IPS start was the Freedom 100, but was forced to withdraw due to a broken suspension and finished 17th. However, he was able to finish his next 2 races in the top-10, including a 6th place finish at Fontana and a 7th in the season finale in Fort Worth. He also ran a full schedule in 2005, winning one race at Phoenix, and finishing the season 7th in points standings. Although he had only one victory in 23 Indy Pro Series starts from 2004-2006, he did finish with a total of 15 top-10 finishes during that time frame.
Although he planned to return to the IndyCar series for the 2006 Indianapolis 500 driving a Playa Del Racing Panoz (which he was a co-owned), he ended up yielding the car to Roger Yasukawa, who qualified it for the race. However he did return to “The Brickyard” in 2007, where he qualified 27th starting position for Indianapolis 500, but finished 32nd after crashing on lap 53. He finally retired after ending up 20th in 2 more disastrous races that season, first when he spun out entering the pits during a race in Texas, then after struggling with suspension problems in Michigan.