A 59-year-old Renton man was charged with his 11th driving under the influence offense Tuesday.
Dean Karl Hermsen pulled over on the southbound Interstate 5 ramp to Albro behind two Washington State Patrol troopers Friday about 2 a.m. Hermsen got out of the car and the troopers, who were investigating smoke in the area, approached him.
Hermsen admitted to drinking beer and he did not perform well on several field sobriety tests, according to charging documents.
"He was obviously impaired from alcohol," Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Amy J. Freedheim wrote in charging documents. "He was not cooperative with the officers."
Hermsen’s record indicated he had 10 previous DUIs, two of which were felony DUIs.
His car is also required to have an ignition interlock device, which requires a breathalyzer test to start the vehicle. The device wasn’t present on the car he was driving.
Hermsen has been charged with felony DUI, violation of ignition interlock, and driving with a suspended/revoked license in the third degree.
Blood test results are pending from the state toxicology lab.
State Sen. Mike Padden says this case highlights the need to strengthen Washington's felony DUI law. He's proposing Senate Bill 5037.
"The law right now requires an individual to have five DUI convictions to become a felony within a 10-year period. Ours would reduce it to just four, but that's a big improvement. It would result in somewhere around 190 to 200 additional individuals being convicted of felony DUI," said Padden.
Rep. Ruth Kagi does not support the bill.
"I think automatically sending people to prison is not the right thing to do," said Kagi. "Holding people accountable for their crime and having them get clean and sober is what I support."
Padden is anticipating a Special Session and plans to keep pushing for the bill during that time.
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