Texas man sentenced to life in prison for drunk driving

Cornelio Garcia-Mata 
By: authorname 

(Scroll down for video) A man got a life in prison sentence after being convicted of drunk driving, according to court records.

A Guadalupe County, Texas, man arrested for his eighth DWI was sentenced to life in prison after being arrested last February with a blood alcohol level equivalent to the consumption of more than 23 beers.

In late February, officials said that Cornelio Garcia-Mata drove nearly six times the legal alcohol limit when he was arrested at 6:00 p.m. near Interstate 35 in New Braunfels. Garcia-Mata got his first DWI in 1990.

While on probation, he picked up his second. Since he is a habitual offender he faced 25 years to life in prison for his latest crime.

"Later tests showed that his blood alcohol level was .446," Chief Prosecutor of Comal County, Sammy McCrary told the court. "It was a positive verdict for the community. The community does not need to worry that he might one day kill someone," he told the court.

In a video posted on YouTube, a police officer dashboard camera showed Garcia-Mata wobble in his truck before he was arrested on suspicion of intoxication. "How much alcohol did you drink today?" The officer asked him. "I'm not drinking," Garcia-Mata said while having difficulty speaking.

Prosecutors said his blood alcohol level was five times the legal limit. He has been held since then in the Comal County Jail without bail after a hold was placed on his release by the Department of Criminal Justice.

He went on trial on Tuesday of last week in front of a Comal County jury. They later returned a guilty verdict with a finding that Garcia-Mata’s vehicle was a deadly weapon because of his prior felony DWI convictions.

What normally would be a third degree felony with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, became a 1st degree felony with a possible sentence of 25 years to life, according to press reports. After deliberating for just 20 minutes, the jury returned with the maximum sentence: life in prison.