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Crystal Lake man gets 10 years in prison for 13th, 14th DUIs
By Charles Keeshan | Daily Herald Staff

Daniel Munoz


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Published: 11/17/2009 4:58 PM

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Agreeing that the only way to keep Daniel Munoz from getting behind the wheel drunk was to put him behind bars instead, a McHenry County judge Tuesday sentenced the the 56-year-old Crystal Lake man to 10 years in prison for what a prosecutor said were his 13th and 14th drunken driving offenses.

For Munoz, of the 6000 block of Burr Lane, it will be the third time he's gone to the Illinois Department of Corrections for a DUI and, according to the judge who sent him there Tuesday, maybe not the last.

"I think you have the power to avoid that behavior," Judge Joseph Condon told Munoz. "I'm not optimistic about you exercising that power."

County prosecutors say Munoz's drunken driving history dates back 25 years and includes convictions in New Mexico as well as Illinois. He went to prison for it 1988 and 2002, but was out drinking and driving again in June 2006 when, charges alleged, a Crystal Lake police officer pulled him over for driving erratically and found an open container of beer in his car.

About eight months later, Assistant McHenry County State's Attorney Philip Hiscock said, Oakwood Hills police pulled Munoz over for swerving and driving 20 mph in a 40 mph zone and found an open container of whiskey in the car. Munoz later was determined to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.385 percent, nearly five times the legal limit, Hiscock said.

"When you look at Mr. Munoz's history, two things are clear: he's driven under the influence in the past and he will drive under the influence in the future," said Hiscock, asking that Munoz receive a 15-year prison term. "the only way he is not going to drink and drive is if he's incarcerated."

Munoz, who pleaded guilty in June to two aggravated DUI charges, blamed his most recent arrests on his return to Illinois from Texas in 2006 to care for his ailing mother.

"I had a lot of stuff on my mind, and I guess I started drinking too much," he said.

"When you're intoxicated, you're not only useless to her, you're a danger to her," Condon later responded. "You're certainly a danger to yourself and others."