California: Sonoma District Attorney Jill Ravitch blasts Judge Julie Conger for letting DUI repeat offender off with simple probation

Repeat DUI Offender Involved In DUI Causing Injury Granted Probation

Santa Rosa, CA  –  November 25, 2015  –  District Attorney Jill Ravitch has announced that on November 24, 2015 defendant Eladio Castro-Naal, 23-years-old of Petaluma, was granted probation by the Honorable Julie Conger after pleading guilty to driving under the influence causing great bodily injury with a high blood alcohol level, driving on a license that was suspended for a previous DUI conviction, and operating a vehicle without an ignition interlock device.  Castro-Naal faced a maximum period of confinement of seven years in prison, a sentence the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office argued was appropriate.  In addition to the substantive charges, Castro-Naal also admitted that he caused bodily injury to more than one person, had suffered a prior DUI conviction within the last ten years, and had suffered two prior convictions for driving on a suspended license.

Castrol-Naal had previously been granted two separate terms of probation for driving impaired, and driving on a suspended license.

District Attorney Ravitch stated, “This repeat offender was not a stranger to the criminal justice system.  His selfish choice to again drive while impaired seriously injured two people, and put countless others on the road at risk of injury or death.  This light sentence sends the wrong message to the community that such conduct will be tolerated.”

The charges arose when, on June 6, 2015, the vehicle Castro-Naal was driving weaved into oncoming traffic in the area of Arnold Drive and Olive Road and caused a head-on collision. California Highway Patrol arrived to find two vehicles with major front end damage.  The driver and passenger of the vehicle hit by the defendant suffered serious injuries including a torn diaphragm, ruptured spleen, collapsed lung, liver laceration and multiple leg fractures. The defendant was contacted at the scene and displayed symptoms consistent with alcohol intoxication. The defendant admitted to drinking alcohol prior to driving, and a subsequent chemical test determined his blood-alcohol concentration to be .13 percent. During the course of the investigation CHP learned Castro-Naal had been driving on a suspended license for a prior DUI conviction.  Castro-Naal’s vehicle did not have an ignition interlock device as required by the terms of his probation.  He had been placed on probation in Sonoma County for DUI in July of 2013.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Christopher Brown of the District Attorney’s Vertical DUI Unit.  Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.   The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department headed the investigation.