A Fremont man was sentenced to four to eight years in prison on three DUI-related charges in Dodge County District Court on Thursday.
Casey L. Stewart, 33, of Fremont, pleaded guilty to his charges on June 11. He was sentenced to four to eight years on a Class IIA felony of driving under the influence for a fourth time. That penalty was enhanced by Stewart’s refusal to take a chemical test.
A Class IIA felony can carry a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment, according to Nebraska law.
The DUI occurred on Dec. 1, 2017, when Stewart was arrested after he appeared “very intoxicated with slurred speech” during a traffic stop, shortly after he allegedly harassed the resident of a North Bend home by knocking on her door and repeatedly driving by, according to a police affidavit.
He refused to submit to a breath test and a chemical test, but he “showed very poor balance” and smelled of alcohol, the affidavit notes.
He was sentenced to another two years on a Class IIIA felony charge of DUI as a fourth offense. That came after he was discovered on April 24 driving under the influence while out on bond for the December DUI.
A Class IIIA felony carries a maximum penalty of three years under Nebraska law.
In that April incident, he also picked up a Class I misdemeanor for obstructing a peace officer, after he tried to hide the fact that was driving upon being stopped by law enforcement by switching seats with a passenger, according to an affidavit. Stewart was sentenced to a year on that charge.
All of the sentences will be served concurrently, and Stewart also faces a 15-year license revocation.
Stewart’s wasn’t the only prison sentence handed out in Thursday’s district court hearings. Edwin Caceres, 34, was sentenced to two years in prison on methamphetamine-related charges.
On Thursday, Caceres pleaded no contest to a Class IV felony of possession of methamphetamine and to a Class I misdemeanor of obstructing a peace officer. He also pleaded guilty to a Class IV felony of failure to appear for court.
Caceres was arrested on Oct. 3, 2017, when agents from the III Corps Drug Task Force surveilled his residence in connection to an outstanding warrant for “absconder/escape,” according to a police affidavit.
When police announced themselves, Caceres did not open the door and instead yelled an expletive. When officers presented a search warrant, Caceres jumped out a two story window. After Caceres’ arrest, officers returned to his residence with a warrant and discovered methamphetamine.
During a March hearing, Caceres’ defense attorney at the time, Richard Register, expressed frustration that the results of a state lab test examining the substance found at the scene had not come back. He suggested that the state, then represented by former Dodge County Deputy Attorney Marti Sleister, had failed to send the substance down for testing, a claim that Sleister denied. Caceres, meanwhile, had been in jail for five months awaiting the results of that test.
At that hearing, he was granted a furlough to receive treatment, but he subsequently absconded from treatment and failed to appear for two consecutive hearings. On June 28, a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Caceres has already served out 219 days of his sentence in jail, and under Nebraska’s Good Time Law, will serve a minimum of one year.