A Medford man with a history of at least 15 DUII charges died Friday at an Eastern Oregon prison.
Darrick William Roberts, 53, died in a hospital near the Snake River Correctional Institution in Ontario, where he had been incarcerated, Oregon Department of Corrections officials announced Wednesday.
Officials did not disclose the cause of death. They said that as with all in-custody deaths, Oregon State Police had been notified and a medical examiner will determine the cause of death.
Roberts’ next of kin have been notified.
Roberts entered DOC custody Sept. 27, and his earliest potential release date was Nov. 4, 2021, state officials said.
His first driving under the influence case in the state came more than 30 years ago when he was charged with DUII in 1985 in Jackson County, according to Oregon Circuit Court records.
Roberts’ most recent arrests came in February of this year, when he was charged with DUII, criminal driving with a revoked license, recklessly endangering another person and reckless driving, and again in April when he was charged with criminal driving with a revoked license and failure to perform the duties of a driver in regard to property damage in Jackson County, according to court records.
Roberts was sentenced to four years in prison with credit for time served after pleading no contest to DUII in September. Other pending charges were dismissed in a plea agreement that stipulated a more severe sentence than usual for a DUII conviction, according to court records.
In Roberts’ latest DUII case, a person called 911 to report Roberts was driving recklessly after drinking a six-pack of beer. A Jackson County sheriff’s deputy located Roberts, whose vehicle was littered with several empty Busch Light beer cans, according to a probable cause affidavit.
The deputy reported Roberts had poor balance, an impaired ability to walk, a lethargic demeanor, slow and confused speech, and bloodshot, glassy eyes. He refused to perform field sobriety tests. Two hours after his arrest, his blood alcohol content was 0.05 percent, the affidavit said.
Drivers older than 21 in Oregon are prohibited from driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher. No amount of alcohol is legal for drivers younger than 21.
Over the years, Roberts has faced more than 80 charges in Jackson and Josephine counties, including hit and run, harassment, fourth-degree assault, speeding, second-degree theft and repeatedly driving with an open container of alcohol, driving with a suspended or revoked license and failing to display license plates, court records show.
Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.