ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. – A drunk driver who slammed his vehicle into the patrol car of an Adams County Sheriff’s Office deputy will serve the maximum sentence for the crime in the Department of Corrections.
David Daniel Martinez was sentenced to 10 years for crashing his vehicle against that of Adams County Sgt. Aaron Pataluna, who suffered a broken neck injury following the crash on Feb. 13, 2016.
"I heard a loud noise, and my vehicle was launched through the intersection," Pataluna recalled. "I know I blacked out for a few moments."
He told Denver7 at the time that seeing what happened to the car he was in brought home how much worse it could have been. He believes the DUI driver hitting his car may have saved someone else.
"The one thing I'm really thankful for with this accident is that he actually hit me," Pataluna said. "Because if he hadn’t hit me, he would’ve T-boned somebody in the intersection. It could’ve been much worse for another family."
It took almost a year later for Pataluna to be back on patrol, according to a message posted on the Adams County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.
“Here at the Adams County Sheriff’s Office we want to thank everyone who prayed for Sgt. Pataluna. We also want to thank Deputy District Attorney Katie Konecny and Judge Thomas R. Ensor for their service and dedication for justice,” the Facebook post reads.
Martinez was reportedly going 92 miles per hour when he crashed the vehicle. He was found to have a blood alcohol level content of .276at the time of the crash, more than three times the legal limit, according to a statement from the District Attorney's Office.
He has previous 2008 DUI conviction and was convicted of driving while ability impaired (DWAI) in 2007.
“I truly believe that Mr. Martinez has demonstrated that he is a danger to our community and that no matter how many chances he is given, he will always be a danger,” said Pataluna. "Mr. Martinez is a threat to our community and the best way to mitigate that threat is to remove him from our community by sentencing him to DOC for the maximum amount of time.”
Martinez was also sentenced to three years of parole, according to the sheriff’s office.