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Repeat offender pleads guilty to 3rd DUI charge — a felony

SEATTLE — Dawn Vrentas, who got her first DUI at only 18 and who later served time in prison for a drunken car crash in which two of her friends were killed, pleaded guilty Tuesday to felony DUI from an incident last year.

Under a plea agreement, King County prosecutors said they will recommend the low range of the sentencing guidelines — 22 months in prison.

Sentencing is set for May 16.

dawn1

Dawn Vrentas

In 2000, Vrentas got her first DUI at only 18 years old. Four years later, drunk again, two of her friends were killed when Vrentas crashed her car into a pond.  She was sentenced to five and a half years in prison, but got out in 2007.

Then, on July 27, 2013, state troopers pulled her over on I-5 near Northgate for speeding. In court documents, the trooper said Vrentas appeared to be impaired at the time, allegations she denied. Vrentas was also charged with felony DUI. Bail of $750,000 was requested and that she participate in 24/7 alcohol monitoring.

“You would think there would be a natural thought process of not doing something like this again, but that’s the power of addiction,” said Crisis Clinic Director Michael Reading.

As we’ve seen time and time again, even prison isn’t enough to convince some drunken drivers to change their ways.

“There is an underlying problem and it’s the drinking problem, so we are now fashioning our laws to go after that,” state Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, said.

Goodman was a sponsor of DUI legislation in 2013 that targets repeat offenders.

“We are now going to be requiring an assessment and evaluation for alcohol dependency and other drugs as well. The judges will be required to order treatment,” Goodman said.

Repeat offenders could also be required to either wear an alcohol-detection bracelet or use a handheld breathalyzer to make sure they aren’t drinking.

“We hate to see people that young have a problem but with our new law I hope we can address it and maybe she has a better life ahead of her, but she has to be held accountable for what she’s done,” Goodman said.

The new provisions of the DUI bill went into effect last September.

For more information on how to get help for someone suffering from substance abuse, you can call the Washington Recovery Help Line at 1-866-789-1511 or click here.

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15 comments

  • Patty Douglas

    Lock her up until she completes treatment!!! Revoke her license for life! We don't need any more KILLERS out on the roads!

    • darron

      Treatment? its overs 10 years later & she's still drinking & driving. she needs jail time period! F sum treatment..smh

  • Guest

    Well said Patty! I would also suggest she attend a victims panel or two and spend some time at a morgue or funeral home. I hope she gets the help she needs and is able to lead a productive, happy life.

  • irene

    So tired of these people getting a slap on the wrist and get right out there and drive again. And, no, to revoke their license for life does not make a difference. They will drive without licenses! They obviously DO NOT CARE!

  • guest

    isn't it great how easy it is to drink and drive now that we have alcohol on every store shelf. what a great idea that was. you used to have to plan ahead.

    • The World is Ending

      Are you one of the state workers that lost their job when alcohol sales were privatized? Availability has nothing to do with it, being selfish and self indulging dose. I don't want to hear an addiction excuse, she has been doing this for over a decade and could have gotten treatment any time but chose not to, because she only cares about herself, maybe it will take some long long long prison time

    • guest

      No, only 2 were killed. But this is 2 too many in my book. The woman is an alcoholic. Chances are she will continue to drink (and drive) once she finishes her prison sentence. The only way to stop her is to put her down for good. DUI is my number 1 pet peeve. Completely avoidable.

  • Seriously?

    So the more times she's found guilty of FELONY DUI, the less time she spends in jail. What was the point of making stricter sentences for repeat offenders. "King County prosecutors said they will recommend the low range of the sentencing guidelines." ????? Why not the HIGHEST?

  • DUI Lawyer OC

    This is so sad. Prison time isn't enough to change an addicts behavior. There needs to be extensive rehabilitation undergone.

    Hopefully this time around preventative measures will be taken so she doesn't cause anymore loss of life.