A Billings judge on Friday sentenced a man police found drunk and sleeping behind the wheel of a running vehicle.
District Judge Ingrid Gustafson sentenced Markus Augustine Abad, 41, to 13 months with the state Department of Corrections, followed by five years probation, for a count of felony DUI. The judge also ordered Abad to pay a $1,000 fine and gave him credit for about 11 months spent in jail.
Abad previously pleaded guilty to the charge. As recommended in the plea agreement, the judge dismissed a misdemeanor count of driving without insurance.
Abad was arrested in May 2013 after at least two witnesses called police at about 3 p.m. to report a man was passed out in a pickup in the area of Fourth Avenue North and North 30th Street. The car was running, the witnesses said, and was blocking traffic.
Charging documents state Abad was passed out in the driver’s seat with a beer in his lap.
A responding officer reported Abad’s foot was on the brake and the transmission was in drive.
Before the sentence was issued, Abad talked at length about the efforts he’s taken to stay sober and improve his life. He said he attends sobriety meetings and Bible studies and works in jail.
“I have worked hard. I haven’t just spent 11 months in jail doing time,” he said, after the judge read a letter from a detention officer, vouching for Abad’s good conduct.
A major with the Salvation Army who mentors Abad also spoke on the man’s behalf and explained that Abad has a support system to help him get established in the community after his release from jail.
Gustafson commended Abad and said she hopes he follows through with his efforts to stay sober.
According to prosecutors, Abad has three prior misdemeanor DUI convictions and four prior felony convictions.