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A Gilroy man was sentenced to prison Aug. 20 for driving under the influence of alcohol in Monterey in June.

According to Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine M. Pacioni, Matthew Christian Silva, 23, of Gilroy, was sentenced by Judge Mark E. Hood for two years and eight months in the California Department of Corrections for driving with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit.

On June 20 at 2:22am, a citizen called 911 to report a reckless driver doing “donuts” with a pickup truck at 300 Fremont St. in Monterey. Monterey Police officers were able to track the truck down to a parking space in front of Casa de Munras. 

According to Pacioni, the officers saw that there were two men near the truck, and they found open containers inside of the vehicle. One of the men was identified as Silva and the officers observed that both he and the other man were under the influence of alcohol. 

However, because the officers were unable to determine which of the two men drove the truck, neither was arrested and the two men were instructed to lock the truck and leave it on scene until a sober party could retrieve it. 

Rather than following the officer’s instructions, the two men returned to the pickup truck later that morning, according to Pacioni. At 3:09am, an officer observed Silva driving the pickup truck on Cass Street near the intersection of Eldorado Street, with his friend in the front passenger seat. The officer was able to recognize both Silva and the truck because he had been involved in the earlier incident with the two men. 

The officer attempted a traffic stop, but Silva fled back to the area of Munras Avenue. When the officer approached the truck, he observed that the driver’s seat was empty, and that Silva was now seated in the back of the pickup truck to avoid being identified as the driver. 

An investigation by the Monterey Police Department concluded that Silva had been driving with a blood alcohol level of .19 percent, which is more than double the legal limit. In California, any person who drives with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or higher is presumed to be under the influence of alcohol, regardless of bad driving. 

Silva pled guilty to driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or above as a felony and he admitted to having three prior convictions for driving while impaired by alcohol. Silva also admitted an enhancement for driving with a blood alcohol level of more than .15 percent.

The case was investigated by Monterey Police Officers Scott Collier, Timothy Ament and David DiMaggio.

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