Chronic DUI offender gets 10-year prison term

Star Advertiser 6.27.2020 A Honolulu man with six drunken driving arrests was handed an extended 10-year prison sentence Friday for felony DUI.

A jury in January convicted Ricardo Newcomb Jr., 47, of habitually operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, according to the city Department of the Prosecuting Attorney. It was Newcomb’s third conviction for habitual drunken driving and sixth overall drunken driving conviction.

A conviction for habitual drunken driving carries a maximum term of five years in prison, but a deputy prosecutor argued that as a persistent offender, Newcomb deserved an extended 10-year prison term for the public’s protection.

“This case shows that drunk driving is more than just an alcohol-dependent issue; it is a public safety issue,” said Deputy Prosecutor Benjamin Rose in a news release. “Mr. Newcomb has been through treatment programs in the past and those clearly failed. (Circuit Court Judge Fa’auuga To’oto’o) recognized that when sentencing Mr. Newcomb to the fullest extent of the law.”

Newcomb was arrested in February 2019 after driving a luxury sedan onto the sidewalk along Beretania Street and crashing into a street light. He previously served a five-year term for his first two habitual DUIs and had been out of prison only 15 months before crashing his car, the release said.

A spokeswoman for Mothers Against Drunk Driving thanked police, prosecutors and the court “for keeping this driver off the road for many years.”

“MADD Hawaii is relieved that an extremely dangerous driver has been removed from our roads,” said Theresa Paulette, a MADD victim services specialist in the release. “It would have been only a matter of time before this motorist would have been responsible for the death or serious injury of innocent people sharing the road.”

Hawaii News Now also covered this story here.