Judge rejects Altoid defense in drunk driving case

Try to drive drunk repeatedly -- while on probation for driving drunk and killing two people...

ROCKVILLE, MD (WUSA9) - The drunk driver who at first blamed Altoids for her repeated offenses is going back to prison for up to 16 years.

A Montgomery County judge cut off Kelli Loos, 42, Thursday when she tried to explain why she repeatedly set off her ignition interlock. Judge Joseph Dugan said her "excuses" were "nonsense."

State's Attorney John McCarthy says it's false urban folklore that breath mints can register a false positive on a Breathalyzer.

Loos served four years in prison for a drunk driving crash in 2009 that killed Gradys Mendoza and Franklin Manzanares, two construction workers who were on their way home after a job.

Loos hit their pick up from behind on the Outer Loop and shoved the truck over a guard rail and down into a ravine. She kept driving into Virginia, but police finally caught up with her when she ran into a tree.

After getting her license back, Loos started driving again, and McCarthy said she set off her ignition interlock at least ten different times. It prevented her from starting the car while drunk.

The judge had sentenced her to 30 years in prison, for two counts of manslaughter and leaving the scene of a fatal accident, but he suspended all but ten years. Now he's reimposed 16 years of that suspended time.

"She can't control her conduct," said McCarthy.

He said it's a matter of public safety to send her back to prison. Her lawyer had argued for alcohol abuse treatment instead. McCarthy said that's not appropriate now, but might be sometime in the future.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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