By Sandy Schroth

O'Neill man sentenced for 2021 crimes


March 16, 2023

An El Salvador citizen, who was convicted of driving with a totally obscured windshield, DUI, no license and possessing a fake ID for employment was sentenced last week.

Pedro Vasquez Cruz, 66, of O’Neill faced the Honorable Mark Kozisec for sentencing in the Holt County district courtroom in O’Neill.

Kozisec sentenced Vasquez Cruz to 30 days in the Holt County Jail, with credit for one day previously served, a $500 fine and one-year revocation of his driver’s license for driving under the influence of alcohol (greater than .15), a Class W misdemeanor. He must serve 23 days, less one day, before his mandatory release, provided he loses none of his good time. He was also fined $50 for possession of false identification, and $100 each for reckless driving and no operator’s license and was taxed $137 costs of prosecution.

Vasquez Cruz was remanded to the custody of Holt County sheriff Ben Matchett to serve the jail sentence.

He was represented by Holt County public defender Rod Smith. Interpreter service was provided by Lanquage Line.

Vasquez Cruz was convicted of the crimes in October after he pleaded guilty pursuant to a plea agreement with Holt County prosecutor Brent Kelly. Kelly reduced the false ID charge from criminal impersonation, a Class 4 felony, and dismissed a Class 2A felony identity theft charge.

Vasquez Cruz was arrested Dec. 19, 2021, by an O’Neill police officer, who had initiated a traffic stop after observing the defendant driving left of center, striking the opposite curb, getting stuck on curb, driving off the curb and losing a hubcap, then, after making a turn, continuing on the wrong side of the road, almost striking a mailbox, according to an affidavit filed by the officer. The officer also indicated the vehicle’s windshield was completely covered with frost and he couldn’t see through it.

The officer reported the defendant possessed a Texas identification card and an El Salvador passport was found on the floor of the vehicle, with different names and dates of birth. He said Vasquez Cruz indicated to an interpreter that the Texas ID card was for employment purposes only and his actual name and information were on the passport.

With assistance from the interpreter, the officer performed field sobriety tests and a preliminary breath test, with a result of .254 grams. A post-arrest chemical test result was .223.


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