19-time DUI offender gets 3-year prison term

  • William Rylan Beall, 65, right, appeared in Sonoma County Superior Court on Monday morning, December 27, 2010. Beall has been convicted of drunk driving 19 times over the past 44 years.

A Santa Rosa man who violated probation by possessing alcohol two days after receiving leniency in his 19th drunken driving conviction was sentenced Thursday to three years in state prison.

William Ryland Beall, 65, stared in apparent disbelief as Judge Julie Conger rejected his argument for continued release and imposed the punishment sought by prosecutors.

Conger said she once had been willing to consider Beall's effort at sobriety but could no longer after a search of his home turned up a chilled bottle of white wine and three airline bottles of liquor.

"There is absolutely no reason . . . to grant another chance at probation," Conger said.

The white-haired Beall, who said he had arranged for a friend to dispose of the alcohol, raised his hands in apparent surprise before he was led away by court deputies.

Under state sentencing laws, he is eligible for release in 18 months.

Beall's drunken driving history goes back 44 years, beginning in Santa Rosa in 1966. He was sent to state prison for two years in 1988 but spent the past eight years without a DUI and had reportedly quit drinking.

In July, Beall fell off the wagon and was picked up outside a 7-Eleven at 2 a.m. after nearly colliding with a parked car.

On Dec. 16 he went before Conger, who allowed him to remain free until she could consider placing him in a residential alcohol treatment facility. At the time, probation officials recommended two years in prison.

The decision drew an angry response from prosecutors, who said Beall was putting the community at risk.

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