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Fire, alcohol and drunken driving case likely to end with misdemeanor charge

Fire, alcohol and drunken driving case likely to end with misdemeanor charge

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YORK, Neb. – What started out as a felony case will likely end in a misdemeanor conviction of second-offense driving under the influence.

Carlos O. Hernandez Gonzalez, 26, of York pleaded guilty through the assistance of an interpreter, before Judge Patrick Mullen in District Court.

In November 2012 firefighters and law enforcement were called to York Mobile Plaza because a trailer house was consumed with fire.

Gonzalez, the resident of the burning house, was not at the site of the fire and York County Attorney, Candace Dick, discovered Gonzalez had driven his purple Dodge Neon into a group of large multi-unit mailboxes and an awning.

“At that time, a trooper with the Nebraska State Patrol discovered that Gonzalez was inside another trailer house, extremely intoxicated,” Dick said.

Court documents filed by investigators say the trooper found Gonzalez lying face down on the floor in the other trailer house.

Investigators say Gonzalez said he was “in the home smoking a cigarette when he dropped the cigarette and it caught on fire. He tried to put the fire out but was unable to, so he tried to drive his car to the fire department.”

“He admitted to drinking the alcohol prior to driving,” Dick said. “He was placed under arrest and his blood alcohol level was tested, coming back with a result of .203 (nearly three times the legal limit). Further, he had been previously convicted of the same in 2010.”

Initially, Gonzalez was charged with felony criminal mischief and third offense DUI, but those were amended.

During this past week's court proceedings, Gonzalez's attorney, Chinedu Igbokwe, asked for an off-the-record discussion with the judge and Dick. Following that conversation, Mullen said “there are issues with the plea so we will recess this hearing until Nov. 4.”

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