Man sentenced in unusual DUI case

By Heather Michon, correspondent

A Greene County man was sentenced in Fluvanna County Circuit Court Friday afternoon (Aug. 17) after pleading guilty to an unusual DUI charge.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Jeff Haislip told Judge Richard E. Moore that Jason Scott Breeden, 44, was pulled over by Sergeant Stephen Proffitt of the Fluvanna County Sheriff’s Office after he was spotted making an illegal U-turn in front of E.W. Thomas on Route 15 at around 10:15 on the night of Dec. 8, 2017.

Breeden smelled of alcohol and was clearly disoriented, with a half-empty bottle of rum in the backseat of the car. After “a very awkward few moments” trying to pass a field sobriety test and portable Breathalyzer, he was placed under arrest. Later that night, he was taken to the University of Virginia Medical Center and was found to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.373.

“This is the highest BAC I believe I’ve seen,” said Haislip. “Mr. Breeden has to be a very seasoned alcoholic.”

Experts say that a blood alcohol level in the 0.250-0.399 percent range is life-threatening. A BAC of 0.40 or above can lead to coma and death from respiratory failure.

Breeden’s attorney, James Cooke, told the judge that it was amazing Breeden had been as functional as he was that night. “That’s not really meant as a defense,” he added. “More of an observation.”

While he did not contest the Commonwealth’s evidence, he noted that Breeden had been attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and receiving counseling at Region Ten since the incident.

“I’ve had to fight this for a very long time,” Breeden told the judge, describing periods of sobriety broken by serious relapses. “It’s pretty much wrecked my life.”

“It’s not the tenth drink, it’s the first drink,” Moore observed.

“Yes, sir, that’s right,” Breeden responded.

Moore was sympathetic to the progress Breeden has made since his arrest, but said, “You can never drink and drive without risking killing someone.”

He added that, over his years on the bench, he’s seen many alcoholics and drug users think that, because nothing bad happened when they drove under the influence, there was no risk.

From a public safety standpoint, though, every time someone drives under the influence, “You went out and attempted manslaughter. You just weren’t successful,” he said.

Moore sentenced Breeden to 12 months, with all but 90 days suspended, along with five years on good behavior, during which time he is prohibited from possessing or consuming alcohol. He also suspended Breeden’s license for a period of 12 months and ordered him to report to the Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP).

“I want you to do better,” Moore said. “You are doing better.”

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