Crime

This Pasco man is no stranger to breath tests. He’s on his ninth DUI

Hector Orozco is charged in Franklin County Superior Court with felony driving under the influence after a Pasco officer stopped him for an expired license tab. This is the Pasco man’s ninth case for an alcohol-related offense. He is pictured here in 2008 after being sentenced to prison for two separate felony DUI arrests.
Hector Orozco is charged in Franklin County Superior Court with felony driving under the influence after a Pasco officer stopped him for an expired license tab. This is the Pasco man’s ninth case for an alcohol-related offense. He is pictured here in 2008 after being sentenced to prison for two separate felony DUI arrests. Tri-City Herald

A Pasco man did not hold back when asked how much he had to drink before getting behind the wheel: “Plenty.”

Hector Orozco was asked to clarify just how much that was during a Jan. 25 traffic stop in Pasco.

He told Officer Travis Park he wouldn’t lie and said it was a “six pack or more,” court documents show.

A preliminary breath test showed Orozco had a blood-alcohol level of 0.164, double the legal limit to drive in Washington.

Now, Orozco is behind bars for driving under the influence.

This is his ninth DUI case. And, like the last two, it is a felony.

Orozco, 64, recently pleaded innocent in Franklin County Superior Court to the felony DUI, along with a misdemeanor charge of third-degree driving with a suspended or revoked license.

His trial is May 2.

orozco 2
Hector Orozco File Tri-City Herald

Orozco already has been to prison for his drinking and driving problem. In 2008, he got two years and one month for his seventh and eighth convictions.

A felony DUI charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years.

Court documents show that Orozco was stopped at 8:37 p.m. Jan. 25 for an expired license plate tab.

The green sedan had a 2018 tab on it, but the associated license plate had an expiration date in July 2016. Officer Park later discovered the 2018 tab belonged to a 2014 Dodge Durango.

Orozco told the officer he didn’t have a license, registration or insurance.

Park noted that Orozco appeared to be intoxicated and there were open alcohol containers in the car. Dispatchers said Orozco was required to have an ignition interlock device, but none was installed in the sedan, according to Park.

Orozco agreed to field sobriety tests, but only the eye test was done because he said he had a back injury. The officer suspected Orozco of trying to invalidate the test because he kept turning his head, despite being told repeatedly that he needed to keep it straight, documents said.

He was arrested after a quick sample on a breathalyzer read 0.164. The test was done 15 minutes after his car was stopped.

Orozco became one of the first Tri-Citians charged with felony DUI after state legislators in 2007 toughened the law for repeat offenders.

Park also got a search warrant so they could draw Orozco’s blood and have it tested at a state lab. The results aren’t included in court documents.

Orozco already had six DUI convictions when he was arrested in March 2008 after a Washington State Patrol trooper spotted him driving without his seat belt on.

He tried to correct his mistake as the trooper pulled behind him with flashing lights, but he couldn’t get the belt completely buckled before being stopped, court documents show.

Through slurred words, Orozco told the trooper he’d had “not very much” alcohol before driving. However, his blood-alcohol registered 0.11 percent at the scene and later 0.139 at the Franklin County jail, court documents show.

He became one of the first Tri-Citians charged with felony DUI after state legislators in 2007 toughened the law for repeat offenders.

Orozco was out of custody awaiting trial on that case when he got stopped five months later because his headlights weren’t on.

A trooper smelled alcohol on his breath and noticed several beer cans in the car. Orozco’s voluntary breath test showed 0.144, and he was found with cocaine in his shirt pocket, documents said.

That led to his second felony DUI, and an eventual prison sentence for the two cases.

Orozco currently is in the Franklin County jail on $10,000 bail.

Kristin M. Kraemer: 509-582-1531, @KristinMKraemer

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