By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Drunk driver will do jail time

Salem attorney Ted Coran explained to Judge Ronald Stone that he made it clear to his client, Eduardo Labra, that there would be consequences for his drunk driving actions.

Fortunately for Labra, he said, no one was killed early the morning of Sunday, July 29, when the 21-year-old McMinnville resident chose to drive while under the influence. Instead of receiving a Yamhill County Jail sentence, he could be spending years in prison on a manslaughter charge, he conceded.

“It’s difficult to tell how much was sinking in,” Coran told Stone at the Thursday’s plea and sentencing hearing. “I hope he takes this opportunity to change his ways. This time, he or someone else came close to losing their life.”

Stone sentenced Labra to 12 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, 12 months of license suspension and 24 months of probation supervision. In addition, he ordered Labra to pay more than $9,000 in restitution to Rick and Marsha Young, whose home on the corner of Northwest 19th Street and St. Andrew Drive was heavily damaged when Labra crashed into the residence.

Labra pleaded guilty to one count each of second-degree criminal mischief, driving under the influence of intoxicants and reckless endangering. One count each of attempting to purchase alcohol as a minor, reckless driving and recklessly endangering were dismissed as part of a plea agreement Coran negotiated with Deputy District Attorney Amanda Dresen.

McMinnville police were originally led to believe 18-year-old Ian Millan was driving the speeding Honda Prelude. As a result, he faced a number of almost identical charges, and spent time in jail on them.

However, they eventually developed enough evidence to prove Labra was driving. As a result, charges were dropped with respect to Millan and brought against Labra.

“You could have killed those people, and it really bothers me that you let someone spend time in jail for something you did,” Stone told Labra. “That’s outrageous.”

It was the fourth time a car had failed to negotiate a curve and slammed into the Young’s house in their 20 years at the location. McMinnville police gave this account of the incident:

The Prelude, which belonged to Labra’s mother, was westbound on 19th when it jumped the curb, struck a landscaping boulder, plowed through a yard, mowed down a hedge, struck the minivan and crashed into the garage.

Labra and Millan both fled on foot, but Labra soon returned. He was transported by McMinnville Fire Department ambulance to the Willamette Valley Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries.

Officers located Millan nearby.

Witness statements pointed to Labra as the driver, but the two youths both claimed it was actually Millan.

Dresen said it troubled her that Labra let his friend “take the fall” initially for what he did. “He denied being the driver and said it was his homie who was driving,” she said.

Dresen said Labra was driving so recklessly that another passenger in the car yanked on the emergency brake in an effort to bring it to a stop.

The Youngs did not attend the hearing, but Dresen provided Stone with a victim’s impact statement and read it to Stone.

They said the incident has caused them a lot of fear and pain. They said anyone convicted of a DUII should have to visit the state Medical Examiner’s Office and see firsthand what can result from their actions.

Labra said he was not thinking clearly when he took his mother’s car. He said he was sorry for what happened.

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