Driver sentenced to jail in Walla Walla crash injuring two passengers

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WALLA WALLA -- The driver who caused a car crash that injured two passengers last fall on Bryant Avenue was sentenced Monday afternoon to six months in the Walla Walla County Jail.

Raphael L. Torres, 24, of Boardman, Ore., was ordered to serve the low end of the six- to 12-month standard range he faced after pleading guilty April 21 to one count each of vehicular assault, a felony, and driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor, a gross misdemeanor.

Torres also was placed on a year of community custody, a form of probation, when he's released. He will have to pay an as-yet undetermined amount of restitution.

In handing down the sentence, Walla Walla County Superior Court Judge Donald W. Schacht went along with a prosecution recommendation.

Before the sentence was imposed, Torres admitted he "did wrong" and said, "I'm glad things didn't turn out worse."

His attorney, Jerry Makus, acknowledged Torres was acting irresponsibly the morning of the crash. But, "There's a good chance this is going to have a big impact on him," Makus said.

Torres was speeding west in the 100 block of Bryant Avenue at about 2:35 a.m. Nov. 13 when the 1998 Chevrolet Malibu collided with a planting strip, knocked over a lighting standard, went over a sidewalk and crashed into a tree, according to a police report filed in court.

His passengers, Jesus Carillo, 23, and Christian Garcia, 13, both of Hermiston, reportedly suffered various broken bones.

According to results of a blood draw taken from Torres, his blood-alcohol level was 0.14, which is over the legal limit of 0.08.

Torres initially was accused of two counts of vehicular assault, but the case was reduced in exchange for his guilty pleas.

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