Local

Tulare Co man makes court appearance for felony DUI

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A South Valley man arrested for felony DUI made his first court appearance.

Robert Van Winkle, 24, pleaded not guilty to three felony counts. The Tulare County District Attorney's Office charged him with felony DUI, felony DUI with a blood alcohol level above .08 and a felony for evading a police officer.

The three felony charges are serious but add to his two prior convictions in the 2010 DUI crash that killed his 17-year-old brother Jacob -- and his possible prison sentence becomes even longer.

In June 2010 Van Winkle and his 17-year-old brother Jacob had just left a party where they were both drinking. Van Winkle crashed his car, killing Jacob. The popular football player was supposed to graduate from Porterville High School later that day.

Just a year and a half ago, a judge sentenced him to a year in jail for felony vehicular manslaughter and felony DUI. He was required to participate in a substance abuse treatment program.

Then, this past week, Robert Van Winkle led Porterville Police on a four mile chase. Officers say he failed sobriety tests for alcohol and narcotics.

Friday Night Live's Lynne Goodwin, who lost her daughter to a drunk driver says its clear more needs to be done to prevent Van Winkle from committing another DUI or hurting someone else.

Robert Van Winkle will be back in court next month to set more dates for his trial.

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Tags:
tulare county, crimetracker, dui, court, porterville, springville, local, jessica peres
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