A Mexican man in the U.S. illegally and driving drunk with only a Chiapas, Mexico driver’s license was sentenced Friday to 10.5 years in prison for killing a passenger in his vehicle in April 2008.
The vehicle of Carlos Antonio Balanzar-Ortiz, 37, had open containers of alcoholic beverages when it was searched, Pima County sheriff’s deputies said.
He was found to have a blood alcohol level of 0.15, nearly twice the legal limit for intoxication of 0.08.
He was charged with manslaughter and pleaded guilty to that charge in a deal with the county attorney to avoid a trial.
The April 22, 2008, crash killed his passenger, Antonio Aros-Gutierrez, 38.
Balanzar-Ortiz was sentenced to 180 days for misdemeanor driving under the influence but Pima County Superior Court Judge Richard Nichols gave him credit for 180 days served in jail awaiting sentencing.
Other lesser charges were dropped.
The victim’s two sons, ages 3 and 4, attended the sentencing hearing along with their mother.
Court documents show that Balanzar-Ortiz failed to yield to a tractor-trailer while he was making a turn at Alvernon Way and Ajo and the vehicles collided.
Aros-Gutierrez died at the scene.
Balanzar-Ortiz had only his Mexico driver’s license and a Mexican voter identification card on him at the time of the incident.
He is in the United States illegally and will be deported to Mexico on his release from the Arizona Department of Corrections, Nichols said.