A judge on Thursday sentenced a Keyes woman to four years in prison on a drunken driving conviction in Stanislaus County. She previously was convicted of driving while intoxicated and hitting a bicyclist, who was killed on his way home from work in Modesto in 2001.
At the end of her sentencing hearing, defendant Vera Samantha Dominguez, 46, was placed in the custody of the Stanislaus County Sheriffs Department to be handed over to state prison officials. She had been out of custody pending the conclusion of her latest DUI criminal case.
Frank Carson, Dominguezs defense attorney, asked the judge to give his client a mitigated sentence because shes been suffering health problems recently and has a family to take care of.
Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Thomas Zeff said there were no mitigating factors in the case that would warrant a lesser sentence. He said in court that Dominguezs conduct provided a lot of aggravating factors that should result in a more severe sentence, but Zeff gave Dominguez the midterm sentence of four years in prison.
Deputy District Attorney Anthony Colacito, who prosecuted the case against Dominguez, was seeking the aggravated sentence of six years in prison. Sadly, her alcoholism isnt going to get any better, Colacito told the judge. Shes already killed one person.
On July 9, 2003, Dominguez was convicted of felony gross negligence vehicular manslaughter with intoxication in connection with the crash that killed William Bo Grice, 24, of Modesto.
Grice was riding his bicycle on Ninth Street near Coldwell Avenue shortly after midnight July 3, 2001. He had just completed a late-night shift at an Arbys restaurant. Dominguezs car hit him from behind. Grice was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he died.
On Aug. 6, 2003, Dominguez received a six-year suspended prison sentence, which meant she could have been ordered to serve the prison time if she violated her probation. Instead, Dominguez spent a year in jail and was ordered to serve five years of probation.
The judge also ordered Dominguez not to drink any alcohol, not to be in any bars and not to possess any alcohol during her probation. She was required to attend DMV anti-drunken driving classes and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
On July 24, 2008, Dominguez admitted in court that she had violated her probation by possessing alcoholic beverages. She was ordered to spend an additional 120 days in jail for the probation violation.
About 9 p.m. Sept. 10, 2011, Dominguez was driving a Nissan Altima; her brother was a passenger. Prosecutors said the Nissan spun off the road in Keyes and became stuck.
California Highway Patrol Officer Aaron Norseen investigated the incident and suspected that Dominguez had driven the car under the influence of alcohol. Prosecutors said a sobriety breath test determined that Dominguezs blood alcohol content was 0.16 percent, twice the legal limit.
Dominguez spoke to the officer during the drive to jail, and her statements were recorded on video. Prosecutors said Dominguez told the officer, I take one little turnoff that was wrong and get stuck in the ditch and Im tooken (sic) to jail, huh?
In late December, a jury found Dominguez guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol and driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or greater while having a prior DUI conviction. The jurors reached their verdict Dec. 23 after a five-day trial.