Jul 10, 2012 10:10 PM by David Ortiviz
It's a case that shocking even to veteran law enforcement officers. A Pueblo man accused of causing a crash that killed three teens from Alamosa, was allegedly drunk four times above the legal limit. While cases like this are rare, remarkably law enforcement officials say they've seen worse.
During a court hearing Monday, a Pueblo police officer testified test results showed Gilbert Sanchez had a blood alcohol level of .325. Having that much alcohol in your body is the equivalent to being under general anesthesia during surgery.
Pueblo County Sheriff deputies showed us how they measure blood alcohol levels for DUI suspects. Suspects breath into a tube connected to a machine called an Intoxilyzer that calculates how much alcohol they've consumed.
In the past year, deputies have seen cases above .08%--the legal limit in Colorado. ".094, .153, .165," said Captain Leide DeFusco as he read from a book of arrests.
Capt. DeFusco says just last fall they arrested someone more intoxicated than Sanchez's results showed. ".358%." Unfortunately, he's seen even worse. "The highest BAC tests that I ever obtained was a .479%," said DeFusco. We asked him how he reacted in that situation. "Get them to the hospital. That high of a BAC he should be comatose," said DeFusco.
Data from California State University-Bakersfield shows a blood alcohol level at .15% can cause you to blackout; .30% is considered a drunken stupor and .40% is comatose--some say, it's a miracle you're not dead.
Somehow Sanchez survived the crash last April that left two teenage girls injured and three girls in the other car dead.
To hear Sanchez was allegedly so drunk, chokes up even a hardened veteran detective.
"When you get somebody four times the legal limit, it's sad. Especially in a case where it involves people getting injured, people dying," said DeFusco. "Those poor three girls. Good lord."
Pueblo police officers have testified Sanchez admitted to having seven drinks before the crash. However, according to calculation guidelines from the Colorado Department of Transportation, at Sanchez's weight, we estimated someone would have to consume 19 drinks in a hour to reach his blood alchohol level.