A Wendell man was sentenced to a minimum of three years in prison following his sixth DUI conviction in 22 years.
“His criminal history is shocking,” prosecuting attorney Matt Fredback said at Monday’s sentencing hearing for Salvador Gomez-Cruz, 58.
Gomez-Cruz had previously been sentenced to two retained jurisdiction programs for DUI convictions in 2000 and 2011, after which he remained sober until 2017, when a series of deaths in the family led him to begin drinking again, according to his testimony prior to sentencing on Monday.
According to Fredback, Gomez-Cruz told a presentence investigator that he consumed an 18-pack of beer within 12 hours on May 26, when he made the decision to get behind the wheel of his white Saturn Vue. According to a probable-cause-for-arrest affidavit written by Blaine County Sheriff’s Deputy Kyle O’Brian, Gomez-Crus was seen driving at a high rate of speed on state Highway 75 near the intersection with U.S. Highway 20 when the stop was initiated.
“While speaking with Gomez-Cruz I observed him to have bloodshot and glassy eyes. Gomez-Cruz was also slurring his speech and mumbled as he spoke,” the affidavit states.
Also, in the vehicle was a case of beer that was opened. During the sentencing hearing Monday, Fredback filed a motion to dismiss the misdemeanor offense of driving with an open container of alcohol in exchange for a guilty plea to the felony DUI on Sept. 9.
Though Fredback recommended a sentence of one year in county jail followed by probation, 5th District Judge Ned Williamson did not follow the recommendation.
“You’ve endangered too many people, too many times,” Williamson said prior to handing down the three-year prison sentence. “It pains me to have to give you a sentence in the Idaho Penitentiary, but I think it’s the right sentence for the protection of society.”
Gomez-Cruz will have to serve a minimum of three years before being offered parole. In total, he could serve a maximum of 10 years if parole is denied.