Santa Rosa DUI driver gets five years in prison

The sentencing followed a trial in which a jury found that by crashing his vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, Norberto Ramirez Perez had personally inflicted great bodily injury on a passenger.|

A Santa Rosa man has been sentenced to five years in state prison for driving under the influence of alcohol and causing serious injuries to a passenger in a crash on Highway 12.

Norberto Ramirez Perez, 36, was sentenced Friday by Judge Julie Conger following his July 3 conviction. A jury found him guilty of driving while under the influence of alcohol and determined that he personally inflicted great bodily injury on his passenger.

Due to the great bodily injury finding, the DUI conviction is considered a violent offense under California’s Three Strikes Law, according to a press release by the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office.

Perez was accused of crashing a pickup truck on Highway 12 between Sebastopol and Santa Rosa after a night of drinking with his passenger. A blood test indicated Perez’s blood alcohol level was 0.21 percent. The passenger suffered deep lacerations, arterial damage and broken bones in his arm, which required weeks in the hospital and numerous surgeries. The press release didn’t indicate when the crash occurred.

“The jurors sent a strong message with their verdict,” District Attorney Jill Ravitch said in a statement. “It was echoed in the sentence Mr. Perez received. Those who choose to drive impaired pose a grave risk to all of us, and we will continue to aggressively prosecute these offenders.”

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