Man’s sixth DUI conviction results in six-year state prison sentence

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An Oregon man has been sentenced to six years in a California prison, following a Placer County jury conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol – his sixth DUI-related offense over a 21-year period. Peter Joseph Farrell, 43, whose DUI record includes causing the death of a motorcyclist in Sacramento County in 1988, was given the prison term last Friday by Superior Court Judge Mark S. Curry, according to a Placer County District Attorney’s press release. “He’s not been a law-abiding citizen,” Curry said. “He’s a recidivist. His prospects for rehabilitation, in the court’s opinion, are dim. He continues to commit crimes that jeopardize the public’s safety.” Citing each of the defendant’s driving convictions, Curry denied a motion by Farrell’s attorney to have a prior felony strike removed from his client’s criminal record. The first conviction was in 1988 when Farrell, who had been drinking, ran a red light in Sacramento County and struck and killed a motorcyclist, then fleeing the scene, according to the Placer County District Attorney’s office. Farrell received a prison term of two years and eight months for vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. Farrell then picked up DUI convictions in Oregon in 1998, 1999, 2003 and 2005 before being arrested in 2009 in Lincoln, the judge said. In the latter arrest, Farrell’s blood alcohol level was measured at .22 percent. Curry said Farrell posed “a significant risk to innocent people” in the last incident. Prosecutor Daniel Wesp of the Placer County District Attorney’s Office said Farrell testified in the trial that he was leaving the Thunder Valley Casino near Lincoln and was mugged by another man in the parking lot. According to Wesp, Farrell testified that he managed to drive away but that the mugger got in a truck and began chasing him, causing Farrell to drive erratically on Highway 65 before a patrolman stopped him. “The jury just didn’t buy his story,” Wesp said. -Staff Report