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Hartford man in jail after ninth drunk driving arrest
VAN BUREN COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A Hartford man is behind bars Monday night after police say he drove drunk, and parked his car in the middle of I-94.
It happened around 3:30 Sunday morning in Van Buren County. That's where police say they found 41-year-old Jose Guzman passed out behind the wheel.
Guzman reportedly has a history of drunk driving, and should not have been behind the wheel at all.
Police say he can't legally own a car, and was operating on a suspended license when they found him passed out in traffic on the expressway.
Police were called out to mile marker 49 on I-94 in Van Buren County early Sunday morning, and found a car turned off with its lights off, with the driver passed out behind the wheel.
Police say the driver, identified as Guzman, was drunk and parked his 2005 Jeep in the travel lane on I-94--something that caught police by surprise.
With no lights on, one officer said Guzman is lucky no one hit him.
Police say drunk driving is a big problem in Van Buren County, with many people becoming repeat offenders. But even they were surprised by Guzman's history, as records show he's been arrested nine times for drunk driving.
The first, in 1998, then twice in 2003, followed by one in 2008, and then two more in 2009.
He was also arrested once in 2011 and 2012.
"They figure they got caught once, they'll continue to drive over and over and hope they don't get caught again, but unfortunately, it's a vicious cycle," said Sgt. Dan Abbott with the Van Buren County Sheriff's Department.
But for people like Guzman, Sgt. Abbott says the penalties are getting stiffer.
"I have seen now that they are starting to sentence a lot more of the habitual offenders, the OUI thirds, to prison," Sgt. Abbott said.
He says that is certainly a possibility for Guzman, but for now, he is sitting in the Van Buren County Jail, waiting for his next court date.
Guzman was arraigned Monday afternoon on charges of operating while intoxicated charge and driving with a suspended license.
He's due back in court September 18th.