WOODSTOCK – A 56-year-old former Crystal Lake man told a judge he drove drunk despite a dozen convictions about the time his father died and his mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
“I had a lot of stuff on my mind, and I started drinking too much,” Daniel Munoz said Tuesday. “I had a lot on my mind. After this, I stopped.”
McHenry County Judge Joseph Condon told Munoz that alcoholics always would face triggers or stresses that they might use to justify drinking. Condon sentenced Munoz to 10 years in prison for what a prosecutor said were his 13th and 14th drunken-driving convictions. Munoz’ blood-alcohol level was 0.385 percent in the most recent incident.
“When you become intoxicated, you’re not only useless [to your mother], you’re probably a danger to her,” Condon said.
“You’re certainly a danger to yourself and others,” Condon said.
Munoz pleaded guilty in June to the two drunken-driving incidents in exchange for prosecutors agreeing to seek a prison sentence of between eight and 15 years. The typical sentencing range is six to 30 years in prison.
On June 26, 2006, Crystal Lake police pulled Munoz over after he was driving erratically. He refused to take a Breathalyzer test, but police found an open can of beer in the car’s cupholder.
On Feb. 4, 2007, Oakwood Hills police found a bottle of whiskey in the driver’s side door of Munoz’s car. A Breathalyzer test later revealed his blood-alcohol content was 0.385 percent, more than four times the 0.08 percent legal limit.
Assistant State’s Attorney Phil Hiscock asked for 15 years in prison.
“His history indicates the only way he’s not going to drink and drive is if he’s incarcerated,” Hiscock said.
But defense attorney Brian Stevens asked for eight years, citing Munoz’s 80-year-old mother’s poor health. Stevens said Munoz was able to control his drinking until family burdens overwhelmed him.