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I.P. Man Convicted Of Fatal DUI To Serve 30 Days For Drinking At Bar

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I.P. Man Convicted Of Fatal DUI To Serve 30 Days For Drinking At Bar

NEWPORT CITY -- An Island Pond man, convicted of causing the death of his friend in a drunken driving crash more than 10 years ago, was back in court after getting nabbed drinking at a bar.

This is the first alcohol-related probation violation for Robert Allen, 59, formerly of Brownington, according to probation officer Lisa Levesque.

In Orleans Superior Court-Criminal Division Tuesday, Allen was sentenced to serve an additional 30 days of his original sentence, four to 15 years with all but 36 months suspended.

Tammy Jewett, daughter of Allen's victim, Charles Bapp Sr., said at the close of the hearing, "I just hope he learns his lesson."

On June 24, 2001, trooper Lori Lumbra responded to a report of a truck that had crashed into a tree on Route 16 in Barton. There she found Allen unconscious and Bapp dead in the truck, which held more than 20 empty beer cans.

In October 2011, Orleans County Sheriff's deputy Tom Hanlon learned that Allen had been seen drinking at Island Pond bars.

Probation officer Andre Laliberte found Allen at the Pond's Edge Pub with a beer and an empty shot glass in front of him. Allen's blood alcohol level was .189 percent, and Laliberte arrested him.

In court Feb. 7, Orleans County State's Attorney Alan Franklin asked Judge Robert Bent to revoke Allen's probation and reimpose the original sentence.

"This is a serious matter. This is a case in which a man died," Franklin said.

Public defender Jill Jourdan wrote in her sentencing memorandum that there was no evidence Allen drove to the establishment, which she described as a restaurant, not a bar.

She called Marvin Menzel, who has spent seven years driving Allen wherever he needs to go, despite his wife's displeasure with the arrangement. Menzel said he's never seen Allen driving and sees him walking quite often.

Franklin described Allen's behavior as a "flagrant flouting of the rules."

Bent asked if the state would be seeking the same penalty if Allen had merely been drinking at home.

The probation condition prohibiting Allen from drinking at bars was put in place for a reason, Franklin said. Court documents state that Allen and Bapp were returning from the Crystal Saloon when the crash occurred.

Plus, Franklin said, the blood alcohol level was very high.

Allen said he'd been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings twice a week and has completed about 700 hours of his court-ordered 1,000 hours of community service.

He said he works six days at week at a logging operation, a job he'd likely lose if he had to go to jail.

"Were you slipping?" Bent asked.

Allen said he was. It was a very bad time in his life when he was without a sponsor.

"What set this off?" Bent asked.

Allen said he was having "problems with a lady friend" at the time.

Bent said if the original offense had not involved the loss of a man's life, he would have considered just continuing probation, but in light of the fatality, more jail time was warranted.

The community is aware of what Allen did, and to see him out at a bar drinking creates a bad community concept, Bent said.

"I'm fully cognizant that slippage happens," he said, but in light of the fatality, a penalty had to be imposed.

Allen will report to jail 5 p.m. Feb. 27.

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