The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

July 10, 2014

Defendant: Life ‘perfect’ except for DUI convictions

— DANVILLE — A Mahoning Township man, who said his life is perfect except for drunk driving convictions, will be spending 18 months in jail for his fourth driving while under the influence of alcohol charges.

Donald Burke Jr., of 985 Bald Top Road, was sentenced Wednesday to state prison starting July 18.

He is scheduled to be sentenced in Lycoming County for another DUI charge on July 18.

He has a history of being charged with DUI seven times but for sentencing purposes, only four DUIs count because of the time span involved, according to Montour County District Attorney Rebecca Warren.

Burke, 61, is retired from PPL where he worked as a plant operator. “He’s an alcoholic and one of those individuals whose every other aspect of life appears perfect. He was a great employee, has been married for 31 years, has two sons, attends church and built his own home,” his attorney, Michael Leonard, said.

He said his client also spent time in rehab.

Burke told Montour County Judge Gary Norton people he worked with and his wife wanted to attend his sentencing but he “didn’t want them to go through this.”

“I deserve everything the court dishes out. Everything in my life is perfect except for this,” he said.

Leonard told Norton his client should expect at least 18 months in jail on the Lycoming County charge.

He said the Lycoming County plea agreement calls for his Lycoming County sentence to be the same as the Montour County sentence but consecutive to the Montour County jail term.

Norton sentenced Burke to one year to two years in prison for driving while under the influence of alcohol. He also sentenced him to a six-month to one-year consecutive jail term for driving while his license was suspended. Norton ordered him to pay a $2,500 fine and to attend alcohol highway safety school.

When Burke was stopped, Warren said his blood alcohol level was 0.252 percent. “He was lucky he didn’t kill himself or more importantly, somebody else,” she said.

Danville police began following Burke Nov. 6 after his truck started and stopped several times in a jerking motion to get to the white line. Police stopped his truck at the second entrance to H. Eyer Road.

Email comments to kblackledge@thedanvillenews.com.

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