In time for the holiday season, Teodoro Vallejo is here to remind you not to drink and drive. He was doing 90 when he passed that marked police vehicle on I-5 south of Seattle last summer and when the officer, with lights and siren going, finally got him to stop (at his apartment miles away), Vallejo stumbled from the car with blood-shot eyes and slurring his speech, unaware he'd urinated in his pants.
Not a good blend
He refused a breath test, but it wasn't needed to convict him at trial this fall. Vallejo, 43, of Puyallup, is now appealing, and just this week got notice his case has been accepted by the appeals court. He really doesn't like the sentence he got. And it was a lot: Five years in prison.
That came about for several reasons:1. Repeat offenders with lengthy misdemeanor DUI records now face prison under a new felony DUI law that went into effect in July, 2007. Rather than continually being charged with misdemeanors and facing no more than a year in jail, repeaters get sent away to the big house.
And 2. Because Vallejo is one hell of a repeater: He has ten DUIs, according to court records, dating back to the 1990s. With the new law, he qualified for felony prosecution because at least four of those DUIs were notched within a recent ten-year period.
King County Prosecutor's Office spokesperson Dan Donohoe says Vallejo is one of 24 felony DUI defendants charged last year; another 27 have been charged so far this year. Among those convicted was a Bothell man with nine DUIs.
Of course, Vallejo is no Robert Castle, King of the DeeWees. But with ten DUIs to Castle's record 16, he's a contender for the throne - and, prosecutors add, a royal "danger to the community." Merry cabbing to all.