Man pleads to DUI in wild ride

The Santa Clarita Courthouse. KATHARINE LOTZE/Signal.

A Saugus man arrested twice in a 72-hour period — accused of being drunk in public, then, three days later in connection with a wild ride through Saugus with two counts of DUI and one count of hit and run, was sentenced Tuesday to three years’ probation.

Jeffrey Mark Brown, 69, showed up at the Santa Clarita Courthouse at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday and, at 4 p.m., was the last case heard in courtroom No. 2.

He was there to be arraigned on all four misdemeanor charges — drunk in public, driving under the influence of alcohol, DUI with a blood alcohol level over  0.08% and hit and run — but, instead, waived his right to arraignment.

He pleaded no contest to hit and run and pleaded no contest to driving under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol level over 0.08%.

Prosecutors dismissed the other two charges — a charge of public intoxication for an incident that happened on July 31, and a charge of simple DUI.

On the hit-and-run conviction, Judge Gary Micon sentenced Brown to three years’ probation, ordered him to perform 10 days of community service and told him to make restitution for the damage he caused.

On the DUI with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit, Micon sentenced Brown to three years’ probation, and ordered him to enroll in a three-month alcohol-education program.

He also gave Brown the choice of three days in jail, three days’ community service or pay a fine.  Brown chose the fine.

The only statement Brown made in court at the end of the day was: “I’m losing my hearing in one ear.”

Brown, now retired, said outside the courtroom that he worked in Acton for 18 years as a rehab counselor.

Wild ride

His wild ride through Saugus happened Aug. 3, about 6:45 p.m., along Bouquet Canyon Road, from Newhall Ranch Road to Alamogordo Road, as many motorists were making their way to Central Park for Concerts in the Park, which began at 7 p.m.

On that day, first responders received word of a motorist speeding, weaving between lanes and driving on three wheels, which caused sparks from a rim, crashing into several vehicles and driving into oncoming traffic.

The wild ride unfolded a block from Fire Station 111 on Seco Canyon Road at Bouquet, prompting an immediate response from firefighters.

Deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station identified Brown as the driver of the erratic car, and as the same man they arrested 72 hours earlier.

When it was all over, the wayward car came to a rest facing oncoming traffic between Seco Canyon Road and Alamogordo Road. At least four vehicles were hit by the wayward motorist during the incident. 

“The call was for a traffic collision with a Silverado versus oncoming traffic,” Fire Department spokesman Brian Stevens said at the time, noting paramedics arriving at the crash immediately called for an ambulance.

DUI arrest

Deputies responding to the wrong way multi-vehicle crash initially suspected the driver of being impaired and arrested him at 7:31 p.m. Oct. 3, according to booking documents maintained by the county Sheriff’s Department’s Inmate Information Center.

The same papers show deputies released the driver from custody nine minutes later, issuing him instead with a citation.

“(The driver) was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, 23152(a) the California Vehicle Code, after deputies responded to a traffic collision at Bouquet Canyon Road at Seco Canyon Road,” Shirley Miller, spokeswoman for the SCV Sheriff’s Station, wrote in response to an email asking about the arrest.

“Preliminary BAC (blood alcohol content) tests came back at 0.13%,” she noted.

However, prosecutors with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office did not initially charge him with DUI. In a misdemeanor complaint filed Sept. 24, Brown faced only a hit-and-run charge.

On Sept. 27, after being asked why they didn’t charge him with DUI in light of the preliminary blood/alcohol tests that had come back at 0.13%, prosecutors amended their misdemeanor complaint to include two additional counts: one count of DUI and one count of DUI with a blood/alcohol content over 0.08%.

Earlier arrest

Booking documents also show Brown had been arrested 72 hours prior to the driving incident and cited on suspicion of being drunk in a public place. He was released from custody the same day.

Brown was arrested on July 31, at 5:24 p.m. “after a family member called the station and reported he was passed out drunk in the driveway of their Saugus residence,” Miller said.

Neither the arrest of July 31 nor the arrest on Aug. 3 were included in the daily arrest log assembled by the LASD and sent to the media.  

SCV officials said they had no explanation for the omissions.

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