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Drunk driver sentenced to three years

Posted: Wednesday, Jun 12th, 2013

Courier staff writer

ALAMOSA — For the last nine years, Theodore Haro has been averaging about one drunk driving-related conviction every 15 months.

But in the next three years, he’ll have the chance to put that history behind him and work to get his alcoholism under control.

Twelfth Judicial District Judge Pattie Swift sentenced Haro last week to 36 months in the Community Corrections program, based on her finding that he poses a significant danger to the community.

Haro had six prior DUI-related convictions on his record last July, when a Colorado State Patrol trooper pulled him over on Highway 160 east of Alamosa. By that time, his license had already been revoked for drunk driving-related offenses, but Haro was once again driving under the influence.

When he was later asked about the impacts his actions have had on the community, he said: “I couldn’t tell ya,” according to Deputy District Attorney Mark Loy.

“There’s no concept from anything I’m reading that Mr. Haro gets it,” Loy said June 5.

The problem, Loy said, is that Haro doesn’t just stay home and drink.

Instead, the defendant gets behind the wheel of a 3,000-pound car and drives around, putting everyone at risk, Loy said.

“It’s critical for us to understand that this is (happening) over and over and over again,” he said.

According to Loy, Haro also has a history of cocaine abuse that reaches into the past month or so.

“He still smokes the stuff,” Loy said.

The probation department suggested that Haro should be placed in the Community Corrections program for 18 months. But Loy urged the court to impose an 18-month prison term instead.

“This has got to stop,” he said.

Deputy Public Defender Marcie Goldstein said Haro previously stated that he is disgusted with himself, and knows he was wrong.

But in one instance when he rushed his cousin to the hospital, he felt like he had no other option but to get behind the wheel, she said.

It turned out his cousin was suffering from a diabetic episode, but at the time, Haro thought his relative may have been dying, she said.

Goldstein asked the court to follow the probation department’s recommendations. But Judge Swift said she had to consider Haro’s past history, which includes convictions in Alamosa and Costilla counties, as well as California.

“You said it yourself: this is very dangerous behavior,” the judge said. “You put every other member of the community at risk when you do this.”

In addition to the Community Corrections sentence, Haro must also complete an intensive residential treatment program. He will not be able to obtain another driver’s license until he has completed an alcohol-abuse education program.

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