Tuesday, November 30, 1999

Repeat DUI offender
may get five years
in prison

By Debra Barayuga


When Emmanuel Ibarra was arrested in January, he had driven his pickup truck into the medial divider on Likelike Highway near Kahekili and was attempting to flee on flat tires going 3 mph.

He caused extensive damage to his pickup but caused no other harm. Police said he had 0.22 percent blood/alcohol content, nearly three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent for driving.

Mug shotAt the time, he was on parole for hitting a pedestrian with his car six years earlier, sending his victim flying though the air "like a rag doll" from the impact and killing him, according to a witness.

Ibarra, 37, was to be sentenced today before Circuit Judge Sandra Simms for being a habitual DUI offender and driving while his license was suspended and fleeing the scene of a noninjury accident.

He faces up to five years in prison for the habitual DUI conviction and a possible $20,000 fine.

Before he was arrested for the pedestrian accident, Ibarra had been arrested and convicted of driving under the influence five times since 1985. The most he ever spent behind bars was six months for a May 1991 DUI case.

While he was serving his time for the negligent homicide, however, the Legislature in 1995 passed a new habitual DUI offender law that makes it a felony when someone is convicted of driving under the influence a fourth time.

But prosecutors are asking that the term be extended to 10 years because they believe Ibarra is a dangerous person whose imprisonment for an extended term is necessary for the protection of the public.

"Our feeling is, instead of a center divider, it could have easily been a car containing someone's father coming home from work, someone's girlfriend walking on the side of the road -- that's why we're moving for an extended term," said Deputy Prosecutor Barry Kemp.

Although Ibarra has had numerous opportunities to deal with his alcohol problems, he simply has been unable to deal with it, Kemp said.

"Bottom line is, here's a guy who can't protect himself and the public. We're asking the judge to do that for him."

Dr. Daniel Reed, who examined Ibarra, also has held that he has "demonstrated a history of dangerousness to others and continues to pose a serious danger to others in the future."

In August 1992, Raul Robles, 42, a Dole Plantation laborer, was walking home along the grass shoulder of Whitmore Avenue from a pau hana get-together when he was struck by Ibarra's car.

As witnesses attempted to help Robles, Ibarra allegedly kept trying to move him and at one point asked the unconscious victim, "Why'd you step out in front of me, buddy?"

The witnesses had to stop Ibarra from leaving the scene until police arrived after he told them he allegedly was going to call his wife.

Robles died of massive head injuries. Ibarra's blood alcohol content was 0.218 percent.

He was sentenced to a 10-year term in January 1994 for first-degree negligent homicide but was paroled May 9, 1997 -- with parole to expire January 2004.

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