There are drunk drivers on our roads right now. Some of them have been stopped before, but they're still driving drunk. You can get three, five, 15 DUIs in Colorado and not go to prison. That could change.
On 11 News at 10 p.m, we showed you dash cam video of a dangerous driver on a Colorado highway. Troopers were forced to ram his car to stop him. Get this: the driver should never been on the road in the first place. Ralphie Cantrell was reportedly drunk when he was arrested. It wasn’t for the first DUI offense or even the second, but for the fourth time.
"Your third DUI in Colorado is treated the same as your fifth, eighth, 10th and 20th DUI. We have drivers who are allowed to drive until they kill," says State Representative Lori Saine. She believes Colorado law needs to change. Law enforcement agrees.
A drunk driver hit El Paso County Sheriff Sgt. Greg White.
"It totaled my patrol car, totaled her car. I found out later that her license had already been revoked for a DUI," says White. He knows he was lucky. He wasn't badly hurt.
Jordan Shinkle's live-in boyfriend, Nicholas Uberecken, wasn't so lucky.
“When we got to the accident, I could see him laying in the street, and they had a blanket over him. I could see his hand out of the blanket. His shoes were in the middle of the street. I knew it was him."
Nick was killed about six months ago. He was on his motorcycle, heading to work on Highway 24 in Colorado Springs when he was hit. The accused driver in the case was not drunk at the time of this crash, but had a suspended license because he'd been pulled over for seven times for DUI with at least four convictions. His license is still suspended. When we caught up with Joe Sevilla his house in Manitou Springs, he was driving.
Sevilla didn't have anything to say to us then, so we caught up with him again the next day on his way to work and a woman was driving him. We told him that we had video of him driving. He told us, “Talk to my lawyer.”
Drivers like Sevilla are more of a problem than we realize.
"I'd say about 30 to 35 percent of people we arrest for DUI are repeat offenders," El Paso County Sheriff’s Deputy Travis Kitowski.
Colorado is one of five states, plus Washington D.C., that does not have a felony DUI law.
Thursday afternoon, Saine and a few others will introduce House Bill 1043.
"What the bill would do is after your third DUI and after certain aggravating factors…one is a BAC of over .15, another is having children in the car, running from scene hit-and-run...that would make your third DUI a felony. Your fourth in a lifetime that would be a felony," says Rep. Saine.
Jordan wears a permanent reminder of her boyfriend. She has a ring with his fingerprint on it.
"It was hard, really hard. I didn't even get to say goodbye," cries Jordan. She hopes lawmakers hear her story and the so many other stories like it of drunk drivers who keep getting behind the wheel.
This bill has been introduced several times in the past at the Capitol, but it's been voted down every time. Opponents say repeat DUI offenders need treatment, not prison.
We'll be at the Capitol Thursday as the bill gets introduced and let you know what happens. If you want to voice your opinion on this bill, contact your local lawmakers. There is a list of them on the side of this page.