Admitted alcoholic with 9 DUIs could get shock probation - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Admitted alcoholic with 9 DUIs could get shock probation

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- An admitted alcoholic with a record of drunk driving begged for yet another chance on Friday. He has nine prior DUI's, but despite that, John Przybylek could get out of prison very early. 

The hearing wrapped up just before noon. 

John Przybylek is just 90 days into a seven-year sentence on a ninth DUI. Kentucky laws allow for shock probation -- among other things -- if it's offender's first trip to prison and despite all those other DUI's this was Przybylek's first trip.

"I know what I did could have killed somebody, and every time that I drink and drive, I know that I could have hurt somebody," Przybylek told a judge. "My actions have led to where I am at in prison now, and it has been a horrible experience."

Przybylek's latest drunk driving charge stems from a crash in March 2016, when he plowed into a car at the intersection of Bardstown Road and Hurstbourne Parkway, driving at more than double the legal alcohol limit with his license already revoked. Police say he only stopped when his car was so damaged it couldn't go any further. Fortunately no one was hurt. 

"The gentleman behind me ran into the back of me," said the crash victim in March 2016, who chose to remain anonymous. "I thought he was going to come and stop and help me but he left me." 

Prosecutors say the 34-year-old has DUI cases going back to 2002, before he was legally able to drink. The defense says he needs counseling, not prison. The two sides sparred in court over whether Przybylek is really reformed.

"His history is ridiculous," said Kristi Gray, assistant commonwealth attorney. "And it's offensive for him, almost, to come in and say -- when he had a prior DUI 4th, was on probation and continued to get arrested after that -- that now he's ready, now it's all fine, and now he thinks that he deserves probation. He should have to serve every day of this sentence."

"We can read his record and throw him away, if we want to, but he's gonna get out," said defense attorney Alex Dathorne. "Because once he gets out -- which he will -- he's gonna have to start back at Square One, which he may or may not do. But he's made a lot of progress. We have to understand that alcoholism is a disease."

Sharon Przybylek says her husband needs therapy to deal with the trauma of one brother's murder and another's suicide. 

"John needs help," she said.

The defense team told the judge if she chooses to grant shock probation, Przybylek would only have one car at his home, specifically for his wife to drive, and it would have an interlocking breathalyzer device. He would continue grief counseling. 

There was no ruling from the judge Friday morning. She says she's going to need about 1-2 weeks to review the case. Gray, the prosecutor, says even her 13 years of experience can't help her predict what the judge will do.

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