A 28-year-old Monticello, Utah, man who crashed into the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad depot while driving drunk was sentenced Friday to 21 days in jail and three years’ probation.
Gabriel Beh was arrested in February after authorities say he lost control of his truck, crashed through the railroad’s depot gates and collided with a full-sized boxcar with enough speed to knock it off the tracks.
His passenger, a 30-year-old female from Monticello, was seriously injured. It appeared Beh was racing another driver, who fled the scene.
Beh pleaded guilty to vehicular assault, a Class 4 felony, and driving under the influence.
At a sentencing hearing Friday, Deputy District Attorney-Appellate Sean Murray requested Beh serve 30 days in jail and be under supervised probation for three years, given the severity of injuries to the victim and the nature of the incident.
“The defendant does take full responsibility, as far as our review,” Murray said. “But with the severity (of the incident) ... we feel a jail sentence is appropriate.”
Joel Fry, Beh’s defense attorney, said Beh had no criminal history before this event. He said Beh has proactively engaged in pretrial services and is undergoing alcohol treatment in Utah.
Fry asked for no jail time for his client, saying Beh has a job in Firestone, Colorado. He asked the judge instead to consider an alternative, such as ankle monitoring.
“He has no (criminal history) and took responsibility for the incident as soon as officers arrived,” Fry said.
Beh, speaking to the court via virtual conference, said he regrets his actions.
“I feel awful about what I did, and I’m absolutely ashamed of myself,” he said. “I wish I could go back and do things different, but I can’t. All I can do is accept the consequences ... and get my life back on track.”
Sixth Judicial District Court Judge William Herringer, overseeing the case, said given Beh’s blood-alcohol content level and the injuries to the victim, jail time appeared necessary.
“I don’t think in good conscience I can sentence Mr. Beh without a measure of jail,” he said. “It would not be consistent with the sentences imposed in other cases.”
Herringer, however, said he did not want Beh to lose his job and instead sentenced him to 21 days in jail. He also allowed Beh to report for jail Nov. 2, after his job in Firestone finishes.