Damian Galvan Hernandez, 39, of Parker County, was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for a felony driving while intoxicated charge in a jury trial that recently concluded in Parker County district court.
Evidence introduced during the trial by Assistant District Attorneys Robert DuBoise and Nikki Rhodes showed that on November 21, 2012, at approximately 9 p.m., a local business owner reported a possible drunk driver on FM 51, north of Weatherford. When a state trooper located the vehicle minutes later, he saw that it was weaving in the roadway and was speeding at 51 mph in a 20 mph zone.
The trooper testified that when he tried to stop the vehicle, it continued on for about three blocks before coming to a stop with its front right wheel on the curb.
When he made contact with Hernandez, the driver of the vehicle, the trooper noticed he had an unsteady gait, smelled like alcohol and had bloodshot, glassy eyes. Hernandez initially denied drinking any alcohol, but after failing the first of several field sobriety tests told the trooper that he had consumed one beer. When Hernandez failed several more sobriety tests, he was arrested for driving while intoxicated.
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The trooper took Hernandez to Weatherford Regional Medical Center where he consented to a blood sample being taken for analysis. A chemist for the Texas Department of Public Safety testified that the blood sample showed Hernandez’s alcohol concentration was .24, three times the legal limit of .08.
DuBoise and Rhodes also introduced evidence to the jury that Hernandez had previously been convicted of misdemeanor driving while intoxicated offenses twice in Parker County in 2010 and also in Callahan County in 1998.
During the punishment phase of trial, jurors heard testimony from a United States Border Patrol agent, who told them that he had personally deported Hernandez to Mexico six prior times from either Parker County or Palo Pinto County and that Hernandez was convicted of the federal crime of Illegal Reentry on two of those occasions. He also told the jury that on multiple other occasions Hernandez had been detained by other Border Patrol agents and that he would again be deported after serving the sentence in this case.
“I’ll give him this, he is not a quitter,” DuBoise said to jurors about Hernandez during closing arguments. “We keep hauling him back to Mexico and he keeps returning. We keep arresting, convicting and sentencing him for driving while intoxicated and he keeps doing it.”
Rhodes told the jury that the only way they could assure the community that Hernandez wouldn’t continue to drive while intoxicated would be to place him in a prison cell for an extended period of time.
Jurors deliberated for about thirty minutes before returning with their verdict March 26, sentencing Hernandez to 10 years in prison and assessing a $10,000 fine.
“I appreciate the support of the community, and this jury in particular, in taking a stand to protect our community by punishing those who repeatedly drink and drive on our roads,” District Attorney Don Schnebly added.