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One year for aggravated DUI

The Camp Verde Journal of Camp Verde, Arizona

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Nicholas Paul Tavasci, 26, of Cottonwood, was sentenced to prison Aug. 25, by Yavapai County Superior Court Judge. Tina Ainley.

A jury found Tavasci guilty July 29 of five counts of aggravated driving under the influence and one count of criminal damage in connection with a Feb. 28 collision in the Cottonwood area. In addition, Ainley found him guilty of the misdemeanor of failure to notify an owner of an accident [hit and run], according to court records.

Ainley sentenced Tavasci to one year in prison for the charge of criminal damage, four months in prison for aggravated driving under the influence, and 20 days in jail for the failure to notify. Ainley also ordered Tavasci to serve five years of supervised probation for the remaining aggravated driving under the influence convictions. Tavasci was also ordered to pay $801.99 in restitution, the records stated.

The collision occurred on Feb. 28 when Tavasci crashed into the driveway entrance pillars of a Cottonwood home in the Verde Village Unit #2 off of Prairie Lane around 4:30 a.m. He fled the scene, eventually stranding his vehicle in a ditch a mile away, according to Yavapai County Sheriff's Office reports.

A newspaper carrier called YCSO with the report of a stranded van in a ditch and the driver was asleep behind the wheel. When deputies arrived Tavasci told them he was waiting for a tow and that his girlfriend had been driving the car. He also denied any knowledge of how the van became damaged, deputies said.

The deputies identified Tavasci as the person involved in the collision by following a trail of fluid from the scene to Tayasci's van. They further matched vehicle parts left at the site of the accident with Tavasci's vehicle. The deputies found Tavasci had two prior DUI convictions and his driver's license was suspended at the time of the incident, YCSO reports stated.

While talking with Tavasci the deputies smelled the strong odor of an intoxicating beverage. At first he denied driving the van, but later admitted he had and had seven to eight beers earlier in the night after the deputies told him the person who called in saw him behind the wheel with the motor running. A portable breath test showed Tavasci's blood alcohol content at 0.182 percent, according to the reports.

At the residence the deputies talked with the owners who said they heard a loud noise but were afraid to go out and investigate. The deputies saw the damage to a cement pillar which was pushed about 15 feet from its original position and a white metal pipe fence bent back.

— Lu Stitt Larson Newspapers

Copyright 2009 The Camp Verde Journal, Camp Verde, Arizona. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: September 2, 2009

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