SALINAS - A 53-year-old San Jose man is facing four years in prison after being found guilty in Salinas today of felony DUI, his fifth DUI conviction since 2001, according to the Monterey County District Attorney's Office.
A Superior Court jury needed less than 30 minutes to find Ricardo DeLaTorre guilty of felony DUI in a collision involving his motorhome on U.S. Highway 101 in Salinas last Nov. 21, Deputy District Attorney Meredith Sillman said.
DeLeTorre was sentenced to state prison in February 2013 on a felony DUI conviction from a case filed in Santa Clara County in 2007, which was the fourth time he was found guilty of DUI, Sillman said.
Based on his 2013 felony conviction, prosecutors charged him with felony DUI following his arrest last November, Sillman said.
On Nov. 21, DeLaTorre was driving from San Jose south on 101 in his motorhome heading for San Diego when he collided with a truck trying to merge onto the freeway from San Miguel Canyon Road, Sillman said.
He then stumbled out of his vehicle but left it in "drive." The motorhome moved forward without him and hit a guardrail at a 45-degree angle.
The California Highway Patrol arrived and had him perform field sobriety tests, which he failed, leading to his arrest on suspicion of DUI.
CHP officers found open vodka and beer containers in his motorhome and he was later charged with having an open container in a motor vehicle, a misdemeanor, Sillman said.
The jury today also found him guilty of the open container charge, Sillman said.
DeLaTorre's other previous misdemeanor DUI convictions included cases in Santa Clara County in June and November 2001 and one in San Diego County in 2002, the prosecutor said.
Judge Pamela Butler is scheduled to impose a sentence on DeLeTorre on July 18. He faces a maximum penalty of four years in prison, Sillman said.
The prosecution presented the case with the DUI Vertical Prosecution Unit, a law enforcement group formed recently with grant funding from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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