The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Man jailed in bizarre DUI case in Stafford County
By KEITH EPPS
A Stafford County man convicted of showing up seeking a trucking job while driving drunk without a license last year was ordered Friday to serve two years and eight months in prison.
Michael Rene Ruiz, 51, was sentenced in Stafford Circuit Court following convictions for driving while intoxicated (third offense in five years), driving while revoked for DUI and refusing to take a breath test.
Ruiz had two separate jury trials on July 5 and the juries recommended that he serve four years and two months in prison. Judge Sarah Deneke eliminated a year and a half of the recommended sentence Friday.
Ruiz had one trial for the refusal charge and another for the other offenses. Attorney Alexander Raymond represented him in both trials, which took place in the same courtroom in front of separate juries.
According to prosecutor Andrea McCauley, Ruiz went to Estes Express Lines on Venture Drive in Stafford on Oct. 7 of last year seeking a job as a truck driver. Ruiz, who had no license and was drunk when he got to the business, got into a dispute with company officials after being told no job was available.
The business is close to the Sheriff’s Office and police were called after the conversation got heated. McCauley said Ruiz had already driven off when Sgt. Rebecca Losiewski arrived a few minutes later, but left behind a 22-ounce beer that witnesses saw him toss from the vehicle as he drove off.
Losiewski saw Ruiz outside a vehicle in a parking lot off nearby Wyche Road a few minutes later. She said he told her that she couldn’t prove he was driving drunk because she didn’t see him driving and he would not submit to a breath or blood test.
The judge ordered that Ruiz serve his time in a therapeutic setting. McCauley said she disagreed with that and with Ruiz getting less time than the juries recommended. She said Ruiz had already completed several court-ordered treatments and had just finished DUI court for his second conviction prior to the latest incident.
“He deserved the full sentence and then some,” McCauley said. “What more can the citizens of Virginia do that we haven’t already done?”