Intoxicated Assault Defendant Wants Probation - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

01-16-08 - Nacogdoches

Intoxicated Assault Defendant Wants Probation

by Donna McCollum

Matt Vaglica's primary objective is to get probation so he won't go to prison. He told the jury that, 'I'm so sorry for what I caused. I feel so bad about doing this. I wish I could take it back.'

His offense is serious. His drunk driving, combined with passing on a hill, caused a head on collision. A sheriff's deputy, his wife , two of Vaglica's friends and Vaglica himself received serious injuries. Some victims will face medical problems for the rest of their lives.

Remorse was expressed, but District Attorney Stephanie Stephens' pointed out Vaglica's track record. The former college baseball player has a history of speeding tickets and wrecks. Right in the middle, a DWI arrest in 2003, then the intoxicated assault offense. Stephens said, 'You can follow the rules of baseball, but you have difficulty following the rules of safe driving and drinking."

So the question jurors had to ask themselves, is this time, could Vaglica follow the rules of probation?.     A remote alcohol monitoring device, the kind Vaglica has worn since June of last year, was proposed as a condition of his probation.  " This is a device that measures alcohol coming from the individual's skin every hour or more, " explained Vickers Cunningham, owner and partner of Recovery Healthcare Corporation.    The company sells the device all over the nation.  " You can tell if a monitor has been tampered with, removed or something has been placed between the sensor and the skin,"  said Cunningham. The former district judge calls it an innovative approach to successfully punishing alcohol law violators. Cunningham said,  " I got tired of sending people to prison for DWI's because they weren't getting the proper treatment and this gave me one last chance before I sent someone to prison. "

Stephens calls the bracelet merely a notification system, not a prevention system, but is was a chance Vaglica was asking for.

Stephens and defense attorney John Heath Jr. presented final arugments around 4:30 in the afternoon. It went to the jury Wednesday evening.   

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