Party bus passengers and wedding guests are sometimes known to get rowdy, especially when the alcohol is flowing. But on one Aspen party bus, the passengers stepped up to stop a driver under the influence of alcohol — their own driver.
Drunk drivers aren’t just a danger to themselves, but to everyone on the road, and the Aspen shuttle bus driver endangered the lives of 15 to 20 wedding guests in his vehicle. This Tuesday, 54-year-old driver Kenneth Maupin was sentenced to six months in jail, beginning in April.
Back in June 2014, the wedding guests realized their driver was drunk and swerving across the road. When they confronted him, his speech was slurred. Passengers forced Maupin to stop and a designated driver was enlisted to get behind the wheel. When sheriff’s deputies arrived they found two bottles of tequila in Maupin’s possession, one of them empty.
Nationwide, 1.4 million people are arrested for a first-time DUI every year. This was Maupin’s third DUI conviction, just shy of Colorado’s new four-strike DUI law. This summer, Governor John Hickenlooper signed a new bill that creates a felony charge for any driver convicted of their fourth DUI offense. Previously, drunk drivers could go on offending indefinitely with only minor consequences.
Every state has its own DUI laws and sentences. For instance, in California, if a person is convicted of four DUIs in a 10-year period, punishment can reach $18,000 in fees and up to three years in state prison.
However, in Colorado, if Maupin is convicted of drunk driving a fourth time, he could face up to six years in prison and fines up to $500,000. Within a month of the new felony DUI law going into effect, dozens of drivers across the state were brought to court under the law.
“I’m anticipating we’re going to have well over 100 of these in the first year just based on what we’re seeing so far,” said Fourth Judicial District Attorney Dan May.
One of those drivers is noted Colorado drunk Kyle Peter Cain, arrested this September for both drunk driving and driving without a licence. All told, Cain has been arrested 13 times for driving under the influence and driving while ability impaired.
Sadly, Cain doubts the new law will deter determined drunks like himself.
“I don’t think making it a felony is going to change anything. When you’re drunk, you know, your judgment is gone,” he said.