A drunk driver has been sentenced to serve 12 years in prison after he failed to take advantage of a second chance afforded him when he entered a sweetheart plea deal for the death of a teenage passenger.
The drunk driver, Ramiro R. Ibarra, now 22, was found in violation of his probation by Circuit Court Judge Bart Stanley and revoked to serve the rest of his sentence in prison. His revocation comes in the death of 17-year-old Ashlyn Barnes, who was killed when Ibarra’s SUV struck a tree while he was off-roading on May 9, 2013.
Prosecutors say Ibarra, then 19, had been huffing fumes when he got behind the wheel of Chevy Blazer and went off-roading in a field off Vervilla Road with four passengers in his vehicle including Barnes, 17. The drunk driver slammed into a tree during his four-wheeling escapade through the dark field, the impact killing Barnes and critically injuring his other passengers.
His plea in 2014 came over the objections of the victim’s mother, who felt the penalty wasn’t enough.
“She didn’t stand a chance,” said Barnes’ mother, Gina Lance, who strongly opposed the plea bargain. Prosecutor Darryl Julian defended the deal which had Ibarra serve one year of the 12-year sentence for vehicular homicide, saying that given the youth’s lack of criminal record, he could have gotten full probation even if he had been convicted by a jury on the vehicular homicide charge.
After serving his required time behind bars, Ibarra emerged a free man until he was taken into custody Nov. 15 of last year for multiple violations of his release agreement. Among the violations was his admission to using methamphetamine. He was also revoked for failing to report to his probation officer during September, failing to complete his alcohol and drug assessment and failing to pay $892 in court costs.
While sentenced to serve the remainder of his 12-year term, his service of part of his time and state sentencing guidelines that require eight days of “good-behavior time” reductions for each month served would mean he will not serve the entire term despite being violated for the duration of his sentence. He may appeal the court’s decision.