Arrests not keeping some DUI offenders off road
When Richard Strock was arrested after a crash that killed his ex-wife, he had been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving 18 times before.
Court records say he had three times the amount of alcohol in his blood to be legally considered to be driving drunk.
He is not an isolated case.
The Denver Post reviewed 195 vehicular homicide-DUI cases in Colorado since 2005 and found that 59 of the defendants had at least one previous drunken-driving arrest, or about 30 percent.
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Three picked up new drunken-driving charges after they were accused of killing people while under the influence, and one was arrested on suspicion of driving drunk the day after he allegedly ran a red light and killed a woman, The Post reported in Sunday editions.
The Post reports that nearly 40 percent had been arrested on suspicion of driving with suspended or revoked licenses, and 44 defendants were driving illegally when they were charged with vehicular homicide.
“That’s the hardest part about these DUI offenders – especially the repeat offenders, as we describe them – they’re ticking time bombs,” said Adams County District Attorney Don Quick.
Fifteen percent of the defendants were too young to buy alcohol legally, and more than half of those charged with homicide while driving drunk were sentenced to four years or less in prison, The Post reported.
Division of Motor Vehicle records show 53,201 people have three or more drunken-driving offenses in Colorado, and 51 have 10 or more drunken-driving cases in Colorado.
In Colorado, a habitual traffic offender who drives drunk with a revoked license can face up to 18 months in prison.
Some legislators say Colorado needs a felony law to stop persistent drunken drivers before they kill people, but cost estimates and concerns about overcrowded prisons have blocked previous efforts.
Strock’s ex-wife died in 2005. Strock was sentenced to 48 years in prison after her death but is appealing.
His car was on Interstate 70 when it swerved to the right, struck a guardrail, crossed the highway and smashed into the concrete median, The Denver Post reported. His ex-wife, who was a passenger, was thrown against the windshield.
Strock has argued that he lost control of her car after an unknown driver rear-ended him.
Information from: The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com
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