Thursday, December 13th, 2007
Judge forces man to face consequence for habitual drinking and driving habit
By Margie Wuebker
Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Ingraham did not mince words when it came to chastising an area man for a continuing pattern of drinking and then operating a vehicle while under the influence (OVI).
Colin Uhlenhake, 33, formerly of 405 Bernard Ave., St. Henry, sat with head bowed as Ingraham imposed a 24-month prison sentence for a seventh OVI conviction.
Flipping through the defendant's case file, the judge noted many of the offenses listed stem from drinking.
"Your behavior indicates you cannot stop drinking," Ingraham said before offering a litany of convictions dating back more than 20 years.
Problems began as a juvenile with cases involving theft and assault as well as probation violations. They continued into adulthood as shown on three printed pages. He has six OVI convictions during the course of 20 years.
"The pattern has become habitual and there must be a consequence for such actions," Ingraham said.
Noting Uhlenhake has served 75 days in the Mercer County Jail during dependency of the case, the judge commented the number eclipes the mandatory 60-day jail sentence he must impose. And he added sending him to the WORTH Center, a residential-based treatment facility in Lima, was not suitable at this point.
Earlier, defense attorney Jeff Knapke described his client as "a really good kid when he's not drinking."
Knapke added he believes Uhlenhake has reached a point where he is ready to get help.
"I know I messed up a lot," the defendant said. "I request an opportunity to show that I will not drink anymore and I will stay out of trouble."
The sentence also includes a minimum mandatory $800 fine and a three-year operator's license suspension.
The latest OVI charge stems from a traffic stop made July 29 by a trooper from the Wapakoneta post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.