District Judge Dane Watkins Jr. on Monday sentenced an Idaho Falls man to a rider program For fleeing police, despite a plea agreement recommending probation.
Gilberto Ramirez-Lugo, 28, was charged in February 2016 with felony counts of DUI, a DUI felony enhancement, fleeing or eluding a police officer in a motor vehicle, resisting or obstructing officers, consuming or possessing an open alcoholic beverage by a driver, driving without privileges and failure to provide proof of insurance.
The charges came after Ramirez-Lugo failed to yield during a traffic stop, driving through the parking lot of the Walmart near Broadway Street at 30 mph and nearly hitting pedestrians. Ramirez-Lugo then attempted to flee on foot before an officer drew his firearm. When officers attempted to restrain him, Ramirez-Lugo locked his arms in front of his chest. Once restrained, he was taken to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center for a broken jaw suffered in an earlier bar fight.
All of the charges were dismissed except consuming or possessing an open alcoholic beverage by a driver, a misdemeanor, and eluding police, a felony.
Defense Attorney Rocky Wixom said his client was disoriented from the broken jaw during the incident.
“I don’t want to underplay the behavior here, but I don’t think it’s as egregious as the state suggests,” Wixom said.
Ramirez-Lugo said he could succeed on probation, and after six months in jail, he had incentive to straighten his life out.
Watkins said he was happy to see Ramirez-Lugo planned to work hard on probation, but given the seriousness of the crime and his criminal history, it was time for a rider program.
“My conclusion was this was pretty dang serious,” Watkins said.
Watkins gave Ramirez-Lugo an underlying sentence of two to five years in prison.
A rider is a six-month to yearlong intensive rehabilitation program held at a minimum security prison. If Ramirez-Lugo is unsuccessful during his rider, Watkins could impose the underlying prison term.
Reporter Johnathan Hogan can be reached at 208-542-6746.