ST. THOMAS, V.I. – A man who pleaded guilty to drunken driving was
remanded to the Bureau of Corrections on Thursday to begin serving his
one-month prison term.
Ortiz, 56, of Est. Nadir was arrested on Oct. 1, 2016, following a traffic
accident on Veterans Drive and charged with driving under the influence, driving
with an illegal blood limit and three counts of negligent driving. Under the
terms of a plea agreement offered by Attorney General Claude Earl Walker, Ortiz
pleaded guilty to the single charge of driving under the influence and in
exchange, he will receive a two-week prison sentence. The maximum penalty for
driving under the influence is two years in prison.
to a probable cause fact sheet filed by Officer Joycelyn Lee-Bobb, police
responded to a three-vehicle collision on the Weymouth Rhymer Highway and the
intersection of Turpentine Run Road. Police interviewed the drivers of the
vehicles, including Ortiz, whose face was covered in blood.
revealed that at the time of the accident, Ortiz was driving a black truck and
was speeding southward along Weymouth Rhymer Highway, made a left turn
bypassing three lanes of traffic, then turned into the lane from Turpentine Run
Road onto Weymouth Rhymer Highway. Ortiz then collided into a white truck that
was on its way to the Tutu Park Mall and then he ran into a jeep that was
making a left turn, according to Lee-Bobb.
his sentencing on Friday before V.I. Superior Court Judge Renée Gumbs Carty,
Ortiz apologized for his actions.
very sorry for what happened,” he said. “I apologize to the victims of the
accident. I may need some help. If you can help me, I’m ready to follow the
right kind of program.”
she handed down her punishment, Judge Gumbs Carty told Ortiz that he has to do
better with his life.
have a lengthy record, which goes back to 1988. You spent most of your life
behind bars, but it has not helped you… At the age of 56, you have to turn
around… Do better with your life. You can make positive contributions to
society,” Judge Gumbs Carty said.
slightly from the terms of the plea agreement, Gumbs Carty handed down her
punishment of two years with Ortiz serving one month’s incarceration, being
placed on supervised probation after his release from the Bureau of Corrections
and paying fines and court fees. Ortiz also has to complete 250 hours of
community service, obtain his GED, report to the Division of Mental Health and
Substance Abuse and enroll with Alcoholics Anonymous, Gumbs Carty further
who was free on bail pending his sentencing was immediately taken into custody
to begin serving his prison term.
case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Stephanie Bowles.