Suffield man convicted of seventh drunken driving offense in 20 years

By Dave O'Brien | Staff Writer Published:

A Suffield man has admitted to his seventh drunken driving offense in 20 years, and faces two to 10 years of prison time and a license suspension at sentencing.

Jeffrey A. Lachance, 58, homeless but with a last known address on Swartz Road in Suffield, pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle under the influence, a third-degree felony with a specification, in Portage County Common Pleas Judge Laurie Pittman's courtroom on July 18. Sentencing is pending.

Lachance faces one to five years in prison on the third-degree felony, plus another mandatory, consecutive one to five years because the conviction is his seventh drunken driving offense in 20 years, according to Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci. It is his second felony drunken driving conviction.

The incident that led to Lachance's arrest occurred in the 1900 block of Swartz Road on June 14. Jeffrey Lachance's brother, Charles, told Portage County sheriff's deputies that he believed Jeffrey Lachance had attempted to break into his house after being evicted.

A doorknob on the residence was missing, deputies noted. There was "bad blood" between the brothers over the eviction, Vigluicci said. As Charles Lachance was given a statement to a deputy, Jeffrey Lachance drove past in a small green pickup truck, he said.

The deputy pursued Jeffrey Lachance for a mile, before he was stopped in the 100 block of Kehner Road. According to Vigluicci, the deputy noted that Jeffrey Lachance had a "strong odor" of alcohol around him, his eyes were bloodshot and watery and that he had difficulty maintaining his balance when standing.

Jeffrey Lachance told the deputy he "unscrewed" the doorknob because his brother had changed the locks and he was trying to retrieve some of his belongings after being evicted, Vigluicci said.

Jeffrey Lachance was convicted of drunken driving in May 1993, January 1996, May 2002, February 2003, October 2005 and June 2006, according to Vigluicci.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1128 or dobrien@recordpub.com

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