Man going to prison more than 6 years after 7th DUI

A relatively new state law mandates stepped up punishment for people who’ve been repeatedly convicted.

EVERETT — An Edmonds man has been sentenced to more than six years in prison after his seventh drunken-driving arrest.

David Joseph Gama, 52, was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty in February to felony drunken driving.

He faced prison time, instead of a shorter jail sentence, because of a relatively new state law that mandates stepped up punishment for people who have been convicted of impaired driving more than three times in 10 years.

Gama wracked up the requisite convictions in 2008, 2011 and 2014, court records show. He also amassed six unrelated felony convictions, mostly for drugs and attempting to elude police. On top of that were nearly 60 misdemeanors.

The latest charge arose from an October arrest in Edmonds.

Gama was behind the wheel of his Honda when he clipped another vehicle while backing up in the parking lot of an Edmonds-area fast food restaurant.

A Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy investigated. He caught a blast of booze breath when the defendant rolled down the window, deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow said in Snohomish County Superior Court papers.

Gama told the deputy he didn’t think he’d hit the car, had trouble fishing his license from his wallet and was uncooperative when the deputy told him to get out of the vehicle.

He reportedly tried to put the car into gear and start the engine. That didn’t work because the keys weren’t in the ignition. Instead, they were in Gama’s lap.

The deputy grabbed them and placed Gama under arrest.

Under state sentencing guidelines, Gama faced up to seven years in prison.

Scott North: 425-339-3431; north@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @snorthnews.

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