A Petaluma man who pleaded guilty to drunken driving and causing a crash that left a Novato man in critical condition last summer was sentenced to probation Wednesday, a move that was criticized by Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch.
The man had been convicted previously of driving under the influence.
“This repeat offender was not a stranger to the criminal justice system,” Ravitch said in a statement. “His selfish choice to again drive while impaired seriously injured two people, and put countless others on the road at risk of injury or death.”
Ravitch had sought the maximum prison sentence of seven years for Eladio Castro Naal, 23, who also admitted to driving while his license was suspended for a previous DUI conviction. The District Attorney’s Office said the maximum sentence was appropriate, but instead, Superior Court Judge Julie Conger sentenced him to probation.
The District Attorney’s Office said that Castro also had two prior convictions for driving on a suspended license.
“This light sentence sends the wrong message to the community that such conduct will be tolerated,” Ravitch said.
On June 6, Castro was driving a 2000 Dodge Neon north on Arnold Drive at about 8:27 p.m. when California Highway Patrol officials said he weaved into the southbound lane.
Castro struck an oncoming 2005 Chevrolet Cavalier driven by Nathan Robertson of Novato. The point of impact was on the left front ends of the cars.
The crash left Robertson, 39, and his wife, Elizabeth, 32, who was a passenger in the car, with moderate to major injuries. Both remain in treatment for their injuries, some of which may be permanent.