After deliberating for only 45 minutes Thursday, a jury of five women and seven men sentenced a man to the maximum 20 years in the penitentiary for driving while intoxicated.
Delfino Ortega, Jr., 53, pleaded not guilty to felony DWI, and a two-part trial was held in the 266th District Court this week.
After the verdict was rendered, Judge Jason Cashon immediately imposed the sentence.
Ortega had been previously convicted six times for DWI in other counties, starting in 1986 with his most recent being a 2003 conviction in Bosque County.
Because of his previous convictions, Ortega was faced 2-20 years in prison.
Testimony in trial from Officer Brandon Gall, formerly of the Dublin Police Department, revealed that on Oct. 1, 2016, Ortega was pulled over for driving on the wrong side of the road in Dublin.
Gall noted indicators of intoxication in his contact with Ortega, and Ortega admitted to drinking six beers at a wedding in Fort Worth. In Ortega’s truck Officer Gall observed a partially-consumed can of beer and 12-pack of beer missing four cans.
Pursuant to a search warrant, a blood sample was taken from Ortega. The DPS Crime Laboratory in Waco found the sample contained a blood alcohol concentration of 0.164, just over twice the 0.08 level which defines intoxication under Texas law.
In closing argument, District Attorney Alan Nash warned jurors that “we are on borrowed time” with the defendant.
“Why . . . three, eight, 12, 19 years from now . . . they’ll ask why, when Erath County had the chance . . . why didn’t they put this defendant in a place where there are no cars, there are no trucks, there are no children, there are no grandchildren in the back seat?” Nash said.