A Windham Township man has been sentenced to three years in prison and will lose his right to drive for 10 years after pleading guilty to his sixth drunken driving offense in the past 20 years.
Donald G. Starcher, 38, of 9260 Bryant Road, was sentenced in Portage County Common Pleas Court on Monday March 18 to three years in prison after pleading guilty in January to operating a vehicle under the influence, a third-degree felony and his sixth offense overall.
Judge Laurie Pittman also levied a $1,500 fine and a 10-year license suspension against Starcher, according to Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci. After Starcher serves a three-year "hard time suspension," he may be allowed to drive for work, probation and counseling appointments. All vehicles he drives in the future must be fitted with restrictive plates identifying them to other drivers and law enforcement, and an interlock device to prevent Starcher from driving while intoxicated also will be fitted on the vehicles, according to Pittman's order.
Vigluicci said a Hiram police officer stopped a pickup truck driven by Starcher in the village on Nov. 9, 2012, after it went left of center four times. The officer saw "numerous empty beer bottles in the truck bed, as well as a case of beer with two full bottles" still inside, he said.
Starcher rolled down his window and the officer immediately noticed "a strong odor of alcohol," Vigluicci said. Starcher's eyes were bloodshot, his speech slurred and his motor skills impaired, according to the officer's report.
Starcher told the officer he did not have his license and "hadn't had one for 'quite a while,'" Vigluicci said.
"Before the officer asked if he had been drinking (Starcher) said 'I won't lie to you, officer, I've been drinking and I'm intoxicated,'" he said.
Once out of his vehicle, Starcher had trouble walking and refused any sobriety tests, Vigluicci said.
Starcher was convicted of felony drunken driving in Portage County Common Pleas Court in 2008, had misdemeanor drunken driving convictions in Portage County in October 2005, December 2002 and June 1996, and one misdemeanor conviction in Trumbull County Municipal Court in September 2003, according to a criminal complaint filed by Hiram police.
Contact this reporter at 330-298-1128 or firstname.lastname@example.org