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Oregon driver who hit security guard gets probation, wake-up call

It's an unsettling reality that many drunk drivers are habitual offenders, whether they go undetected or are arrested repeatedly. But for many people who make the choice to drive under the influence, it takes only one harrowing incident to realize the danger of their actions.

A North Portland man who struck and injured a Rose Quarter security guard has pleaded guilty to the charges brought against him after the incident, which he admits he was too drunk to remember.

The incident happened June 26 after a long night of drinking with roommates. After everyone else went to sleep around 4 a.m., the 24-year-old left his house and wound up in the Rose Quarter parking lot about two hours later. A security guard noticed his white Ford Explorer in the lot, whose entrance was supposed to be blocked with a chain, but it had been cut or broken. The guard then spotted the driver and took a picture of him as he got into the SUV. She was preparing to snap more photos when the man drove in a tight circle and headed straight toward her. She ended up getting sideswiped and knocked down by the vehicle before it took off, hitting several signs and a bus shelter, according to an affidavit filed by the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office.

It didn't take long for the photos of the man and his SUV to hit the media, and just a few hours later, the man's roommates were urging him to go to police. But instead police tracked him down that evening, too late to test his blood alcohol level. Nevertheless, he was charged with second- and third-degree assault and driving under the influence of intoxicants, among other charges. He pleaded guilty to two of the charges in a plea agreement and was sentenced to three years of probation and a $1,000 fine. He was also ordered to pay for the security guard's medical expenses and lost wages, as well as the damage he caused to the signs and bus shelter.

The man's attorney described the incident and resulting penalties as a wake-up call for his client, who apologized to the security guard in court and assured her he no longer drank. With any luck, it's a lesson that will keep him from drunk driving and getting into further legal trouble.

Source: Oregon Live, "North Portland driver who struck Rose Quarter security guard with SUV gets probation," Aimee Green, Aug. 16, 2012

· Our firm handles a wide variety of drunk-driving cases and other criminal defense matters. To learn more about our practice, visit our Oregon DUI page.

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