Judge says man's ninth DUI conviction will stick
A judge denied a Wednesday motion to overturn a man's ninth DUI conviction, instead sentencing him to up to five years in prison.
"I feel like I'm being judged on my past, which maybe I am and maybe I deserve," Robert Kent Vandyke told the judge.
Vandyke, 43, was arrested for driving under the influence in September, shortly after completing parole for killing a woman in a car wreck while driving drunk in 2000. He had served six years in prison for automobile homicide.
Defense attorney Sheldon Carter argued that a jury could not believe without reasonable doubt that Vandyke was too impaired to drive at the time of his September arrest.
Because Vandyke refused to take any form of sobriety test, a jury relied on eyewitness evidence from people who said he appeared intoxicated before driving away from a Spanish Fork baseball park, as well as testimony from arresting officers.
Police testified Vandyke was weaving within his own lane, which is not illegal, and that he smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and was unsteady on his feet.
"As far as DUIs go, this was not the most horrible one," Judge Claudia Laycock said. "No one was hurt; there wasn't a terribly egregious driving pattern. This was a tough call for the jury and they did it without the benefit of your criminal history."
Prosecutor Craig Johnson brought up what he said were Vandyke's eight DUI convictions over the past 20 years, telling the judge that Vandyke is a threat to society who "doesn't learn his lesson."
"If he was really sad about killing Michelle Bradley, he wouldn't have picked up another beer," Johnson said after sentencing.
Vandyke told the judge he thought his trial was influenced by extensive media coverage and that he had become a "political football."
Vandyke will serve up to five years in the Utah State Prison for the third-degree felony conviction, with recommended credit for the 157 days already served in jail.