10-year sentence in third felony DUI for Tahoe man

Kurt Hildebrand / The Record-Courier
Brandon Yauger

STATELINE, Nev. — A Lake Tahoe man, who was sentenced Tuesday to 3-10 years in prison after admitting to a third instance of felony driving under the influence, may face another charge out of the state of Maine.

Brandon Allen Yauger, 48, has already served three straight years in prison for two prior felony convictions for driving under the influence.

Attorney Matthew Ence said Yauger is on the autism spectrum and was overwhelmed by the large family he married into and new child on July 20 when he was pulled over at gunpoint after giving deputies a hang-loose sign.

The white Subaru he was driving was reported drifting over the centerline and failing to stop at Foothill Road and Mottsville Lane as Yauger made his way up Kingsbury Grade.

Deputies spotted the Subaru just east of Tramway and stopped once, before deciding to continue on into a dead-end. An empty bottle of tequila and a marijuana pipe was found.

Ence argued that Yauger had never received a diversion or treatment because his first two felony DUIs were within a few months of one another.

However, even if he had participated in diversion for the first felony, he would have still been facing a felony for the second, District Judge Tod Young said, and definitely on the third.

Yauger said he’d moved to Maine to clean up his life, beating an opioid addiction on his own before returning West.

“I tried to find a reason to keep living,” he said. “I reunited with my high school sweetheart and got married.”

Yauger said the autism diagnosis helped explain why he has so much trouble with substances and people.

“I didn’t know why I couldn’t get along with people,” he said. “It’s like waiting for someone to pick you up and not knowing when they were going to (show) up.”

Prosecutor Erik Levin said Yaugeer’s half-dozen DUIs indicate he poses a risk to the community.

“It’s clear he has a problem with alcohol and drugs, and my goodness what a problem,” Levin said.

“You have so many DUIs, it’s inexcusable,” Young said in passing sentence. In addition to the prison sentence, Yauger must also pay a mandatory minimum $2,000 fine. He was given credit for 77 days time served.

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