• Jun 17, 2010
Back in 1998, Rene Fernandez received two DUIs in a span of three months. The first judge sentenced him to probation, the second judge, Edwin Collier, sentenced him to 60 days in jail but suspended the sentence. Last August, the now 45-year-old Fernandez was inebriated at more than twice the legal limit, got into his Chevrolet Tahoe and started driving, ultimately plowing into a Honda Accord in the oncoming lane.
That Accord was driven by 85-year-old retired Judge Edwin Collier, who had his wife, 81-year-old Ellen Collier in the passenger seat. Yes, it was an accident involving the same Fernandez and the same Judge Collier from 1998. Fernandez is now looking at an 18-month stint in a Montgomery County, Maryland prison for the DUI and the life-threatening injuries he caused to the Colliers.

[Source: Business Gazette | Image: Getty]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 30 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Serves this idiot right. But seriously? Only 18 months? He's probably just gonna do it again when he gets out.
        • 4 Years Ago
        For a true addict, jail won't help. Longer jail terms simply result in the rest of society paying (quite literally) for his addiction.

        Pulling his driver's license won't help, either, as he's already shown that he's willing to flaunt the law. I say create laws, similar to those regarding felons owning guns, and prohibit vehicle ownership. If he uses a vehicle that belongs to someone else, sieze the car (assuming they allow the use, i.e., it's not stolen). This would help. And don't put him on a scooter/moped...those create hazards all their own.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sea Urchin- Forcing someone to attend AA meetings is a complete waste of time- just because you go, doesn't meant you'll stop, if you don't want to. AA is a great program, but the only way to deal with someone who is unwilling to stop, is monitoring after their release. Ankle tethers or twice daily testing can keep him sober, but not clean.
        As for "letting him off" 12 years ago, penalties weren't anywhere near what they are today, and suspended sentences were pretty common.
        I think using part of the revenue from liquor licenses to promote public transit, especially taxi service, could do well to reduce drunk driving. The problem arises in that the municipal or district courts are dependent on fines from DUI convictions. Sadly, at the end only the lawyers win.
      • 4 Years Ago
      18 months seems a little light given the prior history, and the 2 counts of vehicular assault of the most recent offense. Hopefully the sentence will at least include a lifetime driving ban.

      Though I've actually heard of worse offenders. A guy (living in the same city as I did at the time) got pulled over and would have gotten his 3rd DUI after failing the field test, which was a 1-yr minimum felony in that state. Cop drove him home and let him off with a verbal warning. Well, after the idiot had some more brews at home he thought it a good idea to go fetch his car. Same cop pulled him over.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Seems to be a mild sentence.
      • 4 Years Ago
      18 months? How about 10 years and no lisence privileges anymore? Drunk driving is one thing I will not tolerate.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Looks like the idiot Judge got what he gave to others because of his piss poor decision to let a known repeat offender off the hook, pain and suffering. He got we he deserved, so many families get it much worse from fools like this let lose by the courts.
      • 4 Years Ago
      A a daily driver who lives and works in "MoCo" Maryland, I say give him the chair.
      • 4 Years Ago

      So, what does this tell us? Total failure of "preventive" measures like DUI. It seems to me that the only people heeding the law and not drinking and driving are responsible citizens who, before the hysteria, used to drink 5-6 beers with the buddies on happy hour then go home for a dinner before dark on streets with least amount of traffic. Yes, with DUI laws you succeeded to get those "demons" of the road, but the real killers are still there and they won't stop drinking heavily and driving no matter how much fun you decide to take away from our (responsible citizen's) life. Keep up the good work! And remember ... NEVER punish the culprits, just make sure to make responsible people's lives miserable. That always works.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Serves him right. But ONLY 18 months? C'Mon!! Knowing this person, they'll probably do it again.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The drunk driving laws in this country (I know it varies from state to state) on the whole are a joke. You basically need to kill somebody to face any kind of serious penalty.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Odd, most felons want to get the judge that didn't let them off. Must have been drunk.
      • 4 Years Ago
      proof of god.. hallelujah !
        • 4 Years Ago
        And here I thought Satan was created by God in order to give live meaning through struggle, sacrifice, and sorrow. As in, a life of unmitigated pleasure and leisure, lacking any room for progress or achievement, is empty. (At least that's what I learned from Wall-E.)

        That aside, the best solution to drunk driving is widely available public transportation. Most repeat offenders don't have driver's licenses anyway, cuz they've already lost them from prior DWI/DUIs. That's been my observation, anyway, as a court employee.

        Then there's Wisconsin, the only state where your first drunk driving offense isn't even a crime.

        As someone who moved from California to the Midwest, I can attest to cultural attitudes also being a big part of the problem. The average person is a lot more flippant about drunk driving here than I was accustomed to.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm not sure that public transportation is the answer for most of the offenders. People that are self-centered enough to take others lives in their hands probably won't want to take public transportation.
      thefuzzracer
      • 4 Years Ago
      Epic fail.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @thefuzzracer
        BrianH

        Cause and effect. The second judge DID let him go, the 2nd DUI in a span of 3 months should have been a red flag and suspending the sentence amounted to nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

        60 days in jail may have been enough to make this guy realize there was a problem, instead he likely continued to drive drunk for the next 11 years without getting caught. Involved in hit and runs and who knows what else.

        Glad it was the judge who let him out on the streets instead of an innocent family in a minivan.

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