Crime

8 DUIs equals 25 months for Pasco man

A Pasco man's history of driving drunk caught up with him Tuesday.

Hector Orozco was sentenced to two years and one month in prison for his seventh and eighth drunken driving convictions.

Typically a DUI charge, a gross misdemeanor, carries a county jail sentence. But Orozco's two cases fell under an updated state law that makes it a felony if the suspect has had four prior DUI convictions in the last 10 years.

Orozco reportedly had six prior alcohol-related offenses, but the four that applied under the law occurred between January 2002 and January 2007.

In the last eight months he was arrested twice while driving under the influence of alcohol. He pleaded guilty Nov. 10 in Franklin County Superior Court to two counts of felony DUI and one count of possession of cocaine.

Orozco turns 55 on Sunday.

He didn't have anything to say to the court Tuesday before his sentencing.

Orozco was arrested March 3 after a Washington State Patrol trooper spotted him driving without his seat belt on. Orozco's car was stopped on Pasco's Columbia Street and, through slurred words, he told the trooper he'd had "not very much" alcohol before getting behind the wheel, according to court documents.

However, his blood-alcohol registered 0.11 percent at the scene, and later 0.139 and 0.136 percent at the jail, documents said.

The legal limit to drive in Washington is 0.08 percent.

He was released from custody before the case went to trial and was ordered not to drink any alcohol.

But on Oct. 7 another trooper pulled over Orozco's car because the headlights weren't on.

While talking to Orozco in a parking lot next to Highway 397 at the cable bridge, the trooper reportedly smelled intoxicants on Orozco's breath and noticed several beer cans in the car.

A voluntary breath test at the scene showed 0.144 percent. A plastic bag with cocaine was found in his shirt pocket during a search at the jail.

Orozco's criminal history gave him a standard sentencing range of one year and 10 months to two years and five months in prison on each felony DUI.

Deputy Prosecutor Brian Hultgrenn recommended the two-year, one-month term.

Defense attorney Bob Thompson agreed with the sentence, saying his client "clearly needs" treatment and can find such programs in prison.

Each conviction carries mandatory DUI costs of $2,273.50, the court said.

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