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Drunk driver gets multiple decade-long sentences

by JOSH MCDONALD
Staff Reporter | November 23, 2021 12:53 PM

WALLACE — Monday was law day in Shoshone County and Judge Scott Wayman presided over a number of cases, including the sentencing of Wallace Eugene Pratt.

Pratt, 69, was arrested in July this year on a charge of driving under the influence, the ninth time he has faced a DUI charge since 2002, both in Shoshone and Kootenai counties.

Pratt was stopped on Eagle Creek Road, where he registered a blood alcohol level of .298, nearly four times the legal limit.

According to court documents, Pratt had been sentenced to 10 years in July of 2019 in Kootenai County, but the court retained jurisdiction and suspended his sentence — then in 2020 Pratt received an amended felony sentence of 10 years of felony probation, which included weekly random drug and alcohol testing for the first year (then monthly for the remaining years), mandatory participation in drug/mental health court, daily support meetings for the first 90 days (three times a week for the remaining years), and mandatory participation in the Idaho Department of Correction's Aftercare Program.

Due to his increased risk of recidivism and seeming lack of accountability for his actions, Shoshone County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Ben Allen recommended that Wayman impose the maximum penalty allowed for such offense — 10 years.

“Mr. Pratt has multiple DUIs in his life and was currently on probation for a felony DUI at the time of this offense,” Allen told the News-Press. “As such, the State views him as a significant risk to the community based upon his disregard for court orders and his pattern of conduct in continuing to drink and drive despite opportunities for rehabilitation within the community which were granted to him by Kootenai County on his previous DUIs.”

Pratt had agreed to plead guilty in September, with the caveat that his sentence run concurrently with the sentences he would receive from separate cases in Kootenai County.

Wayman agreed with Allen’s summation and sentenced Pratt to 10 years, including eight years fixed and two indeterminate. The sentence will run concurrently with two other 10-year sentences, one being 10 years fixed and the other being five years fixed and five years indeterminate.

Shoshone County Prosecuting Attorney Keisha Oxendine was pointed when she discussed how a lower sentence wasn’t even considered when the State made its recommendation to Wayman.

“Protection of the community was the primary concern given his significant safety risk by continuing to drink and drive,” Oxendine said.