Tucson, AZ- A look into a the driving record of the truck driver who is accused of causing the California train accident that left 28 injured, revealed that he was previously convicted of driving under the influence in Arizona.
Jose Alejandro Sanchez-Ramirez, 54, was arrested and charged with felony hit-and-run Tuesday after police found him wandering about a mile from the crash site in Oxnard, California.
Ramirez told police that prior to the accident, his truck became stuck in the train tracks so he exited his vehicle left to call 911. But NTSB investigators say there is no sign his truck “bottomed out” of became stuck on the tracks.
The Los Angeles Times reported today that Ramirez has a previous DUI conviction from along with other traffic violations and criminal charges.
According to Arizona criminal records, obtained by the Los Angeles Times, Ramirez pleaded guilty to numerous charges, including driving with a blood alcohol content above .08 in 1998. He has also faced local traffic violations and was once cited for failing to observe a traffic signal.
Investigators said the heavy-duty pickup truck Ramirez was driving was parked 80 feet down the train tracks when the Metrolink commuter train crashed into it. Four cars of the passenger train derailed and left 28 people injured, four of which are in critical condition.
Ramirez was found wandering down a street with one fire department employee telling the press he appeared “disoriented,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
At this point in time investigators don’t know why Ramirez was stopped on the train tracks and have not indicated that intoxication played a role in the accident. But his driving record has been called into question and it revealed that he has a prior conviction for DUI in Arizona.
That prior conviction could spell trouble for Ramirez. Although the look-back period for DUI sentencing in Arizona is 7 years, such a charge can be damning evidence in an accident case, even if intoxication was not a factor. Ramirez’s DUI conviction was way back in 1998, but this just goes to show that a DUI conviction can haunt a person indefinitely.
Driving under the influence if any intoxicating substance is wrong, plain and simple, but that doesn’t mean a person doesn’t deserve the right to defend themselves in court. People are wrongfully charged with DUI on a regular basis. It is possible for police to misread a driver’s behavior when they are pulled over. Or, to rely on the results of breathalyzer machine that has not been properly maintained or calibrated.
From the moment a motorist is pulled over everything they say and do can be taken as evidence of guilt. Anyone facing a DUI charge needs an Arizona DUI attorney on their side to challenge the evidence presented against them and prove their innocence.
With you freedom and license on the line, you need to be proactive if you have been charged with a DUI. The sooner you contact a Tucson DUI attorney, the sooner than can get to work on your DUI defense.