Jun 11, 2015 6:08 PM
BRENTWOOD - A Salem drug dealer who crashed his vehicle into three police cruisers, injuring two officers, collapsed and began to sob Tuesday morning as he was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison.
Luis Carlos Figueroa was high on prescription pills in March of last year when two citizens noticed him driving erratically on Interstate 93.
After getting off the highway, Figueroa waited to go through a green light for two minutes, so the concerned citizens called police.
When Salem police officers caught up with Figueroa, they found him unresponsive in his vehicle, not far from his residence. They tried to get his attention by tapping on his window.
Figueroa finally responded, and drove his vehicle onto a snowbank, then into three police cruisers. Two of the officers later went to the hospital with minor injuries.
At the time of Figueroa's arrest, police found over $5,000 in cash, multiple cell phones and pills.
Figueroa was so intoxicated that he was brought to Parkland Medical Center and Narcan was administered.
Prosecutor Brad Bolton told Judge William Delker that Figueroa explained his actions to police officers by saying that it wasn't him, "it was the drugs."
Bolton claimed that with Figueroa's record of being in and out of the prison system, there "doesn't seem to be any progress on the learning curve."
Bolton said when Figueroa is free, he sells drugs until he ends up back in jail.
Defense attorney Philip Doherty told Delker that Figueroa was a serious drug addict who was abandoned at 8-years-old and was raised by his sisters. His wife had left him just prior to the 2014 incident, taking their children to Puerto Rico with her.
Doherty tried to explain away Figueroa's criminal past, which includes prior police chases.
After a brief recess, Delker came back with a decision: 10 to 20 years in prison on multiple felony counts for drug possession and his confrontation with officers.
"It is lucky, frankly for you, that no one has been killed yet," Delker said.
As the sentence was being read, multiple members of Figueroa's family began to cry, some wailing. Figueroa himself collapsed into his chair, putting his head down on the defense table as he began to break down.
After Figueroa was taken back into custody, his family stayed behind in the courtroom for a moment, hugging and consoling each other. Bolton said afterwards that he didn't think Figueroa's tears were those of remorse or self-pity, but rather surprise that he was sentenced to so much time behind bars.
Follow Kimberley Haas on Twitter at KHaasNH1.
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