MADISON — A Pierce man was sentenced for a third DUI charge in district court on Friday.
Dillon White, 28, appeared before Judge Mark Johnson on Friday with his attorney, Jason Doele.
On the evening of July 5, 2020, Norfolk police responded to reports of a man driving a pickup recklessly near the intersection of Seventh Street and Pasewalk Avenue.
While officers were en route to check for the reckless driver, a call of an accident was dispatched of a pickup that had crashed into a tree in the 400 block of South Second Street, according to the pre-sentence investigation report. The pickup was the suspected vehicle in the reckless driving call.
The responding officer noticed White's eyes were glossy, and he had slurred speech and smelled of alcohol after finding him sitting in the grass at a Norfolk residence where he had crashed his pickup.
After showing impairment on field sobriety maneuvers, White was arrested for the third time in five years for driving under the influence. His blood alcohol level was .215 at the time of his arrest, more than 2½ times the legal limit.
At the time of his arrest, White had been on probation for a previous DUI conviction.
Madison County Deputy Attorney Matthew Kiernan said White had already received a generous break in his case after his charge was reduced from a third felony DUI conviction (.15 grams or more) to a third-offense DUI.
Kiernan told Johnson that it didn’t appear White had learned from his previous offenses.
“I think the fact that he’s had these DUIs within fairly close proximity of each other tips the scales in favor of incarceration rather than a term of probation,” he said. “Further concerning is that the defendant was on probation at the time of the offense.”
Doele told Johnson that his client had spent 18 months sober before his July relapse. White also has attended in-patient therapy, outpatient therapy and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, in addition to receiving counseling, Doele said.
White said his drinking had ruined his marriage, taken away precious visitation time with his daughter and cost him thousands of dollars in legal fees and fines.
“I understand that alcohol has ruined my life; it doesn’t get me anywhere,” White told Johnson.
Johnson told White on Friday that he “seems like a decent person,” but the risk he’s presented to others should be recognized.
“What if that tree you hit would have been a person?” Johnson asked. “People might ask why we would put someone like that on probation. You ran into a tree, and that could have just as easily been a pedestrian or someone else driving on the road.”
Johnson then sentenced White to 120 days in jail with credit for 3 days served, revoked his license for 15 years and issued a $1,000 fine.
“I understand addiction; I understand that it’s hard to quit drinking alcohol. But drinking alcohol isn’t the crime,” Johnson said. “The crime is getting behind that wheel. When you get behind that wheel, you can kill people.”
Johnson sentenced others Friday for the following:
Possession of a controlled substance
— Dariann Gunter, 19, 306 S. 11th St., 18 months’ probation, 90 days in jail before probation ends with credit for 11 days served, costs.
— Joshua Winburn, 18, Fremont, 6 to 8 years in the Nebraska Department of Corrections with credit for 653 days served.
Delivery of cocaine
— Chad Campbell, 29, 806 S. 12th St., 30 months’ probation extended 9 months, 90 days in jail with credit for 43 days served, costs.
— Matthew Sieck, 29, 411 S. First St., probation violation on prior charges of third-degree assault and criminal mischief, 2 days in jail, costs.