West Seattle Crime Watch followup: 5-year prison sentence for repeat drunk driver

“I’ve suffered from this addiction for a very long time and know I need serious help.” So wrote 32-year-old Christopher T. Martin in a letter to the judge who sentenced him last week for felony DUI and bail-jumping. Martin is the repeat drunk driver who was arrested on the West Seattle Bridge this past June after flipping his car, in which his toddler daughter was riding. Neither was hurt – nor was anyone in the three other cars involved – but police discovered Martin was wanted for failing to appear in connection with a felony DUI case from a downtown incident almost three years earlier. As we reported at the time, and as reiterated in current court documents, he had four DUI arrests in the preceding nine years, which made the 2012 charge, in which he tested with .27 blood alcohol, a felony offense. He’s been jailed in lieu of $100,000 bail since the arrest in June; in September, he pleaded guilty to felony DUI and bail jumping in the 2012 case, as well as pleading guilty to three Municipal Court charges in the West Seattle Bridge case. After several postponements, he was sentenced one week ago to five years in prison, with credit for time served; that was the top of the range, according to court documents.

12 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch followup: 5-year prison sentence for repeat drunk driver"

  • T Rex December 1, 2015 (3:23 pm)

    He should have gotten five years more than that for putting his child in danger.

    • WSB December 1, 2015 (3:28 pm)

      There appears to be a great deal of suspended time in connection with the guilty pleas in the city charges from this year’s crash – and five years of probation – ostensibly as incentive to stay out of trouble once he gets out.

  • lookingforlogic December 1, 2015 (5:05 pm)

    You want/need to drink whatever, but you want/need to operate a tool of destruction while drunk RU/fkng kidding me? Just don’t drive. Period. Ever. Don’t ever drive. NEVER NEVER NEVER. I think that drunk driving is a cowardly fickle method of murder/suicide.


  • Jim P December 1, 2015 (9:37 pm)

    And yet, I will wager he will get his license back.

    Best protection for society is to remove this person’s ability to legally drive for life.

    You do not hand a gun back to a convicted felon who abused people with a gun but people fall all over themselves to hand a car back to a repeat drunk driver the moment he gets out of jail.

  • TheKing December 2, 2015 (4:57 am)

    I honestly can’t tell the difference between a drunk driver and someone who is texting while driving when I am behind them. Not saying they are the same thing, but the outcome when an accident happens doesn’t change. Only the drunk driver gets severe punishment compared to a texting, surfing whatever ….driver. I have been rear ended by a driver who was texting while I was at a red light, she hit me at 45 mph, the first thing she said “please don’t tell the cops I was on my phone”. With my foot on the brake she sent me into oncoming traffic, cars swerving everywhere. I managed to get out of this with minor injuries and a totaled car but it could have been much worse. She got a ticket for negligent driving and I am assuming higher insurance rates. She made a conscious decision to put my life in danger but does not come close to facing the scrutiny of a drunk driver.

  • wscommuter December 2, 2015 (11:17 am)

    @TheKing … the difference is that there are WAY more people texting while driving than drunk drivers. So I agree with your concern completely. It seems all too common that I see a driver doing something stupid/dangerous and then I see a cell phone in their hands. Good post. Hope you heal well. What a scary experience.

  • Jimmy December 2, 2015 (11:48 am)

    Neither were* hurt. Please revise for correct usage.

    • WSB December 2, 2015 (12:46 pm)

      Thanks for your concern, Jimmy, but it’s already correct. – TR

  • zark00 December 2, 2015 (12:16 pm)

    @ TheKing
    Great post.
    You are 100% correct.

    She should have lost her license for a year.
    She should have had to go to traffic school to get it back.
    She should have to install and pay for an interlock device (doesn’t exist yet) just like a drunk driver so she couldn’t text and drive for the duration of her probation.

    Texting and driving, distracted driving, call it whatever, is an epidemic. The thing that blows my mind is when you call someone on it – they get mad at you! Yeah yeah if I flip them off I expect them to get mad. But if you just say ‘Please don’t do that, it’s dangerous’ you will get flipped off 90% of the time – try it.

    I’ve seen parents texting and driving through school zones during drop off and pickup numerous times – it’s unbelievable. It’s like they don’t understand that staring at a phone screen while driving makes you, literally, a horrible person.

    Someone please challenge that. Please explain to me how your texting and driving is OK for you to do. I know that people who regularly read these boards also drive through West Seattle, through our neighborhoods, while staring at screens. Defend your actions, explain to all of us why it’s ok for you to put children’s lives at risk so you can say ‘k, lol, ttyl’ to your buddy.

  • BC December 2, 2015 (2:13 pm)

    @TheKing, wscommuter, zark00

    +1 – a number of times when sitting on the bus in traffic I’ve decided to monitor the cars that pass to see how bad this is, and literally 25-40% are looking at their phone while driving. Some may just be doing quick glances at navigation apps or similar that may be justifiable, but the majority are texting, emailing, reading or something else completely unnecessary.

    And when I’m in my car and can’t figure out why the person in front of me is driving like such an idiot, driving past I see they’re almost always looking at the phone.

    As for defending it, I’ve talked to friends and others who do it – all claim to be taking quick glances and that it’s a rare occurrence and are basically in denial about how frequently they do it and the level of danger it causes.

  • john December 2, 2015 (3:03 pm)

    @TheKing and BC,
    I do the exact same thing BC. I find myself looking at the cars driving pass the bus and count the number of people on their phone. It’ll blow your mind. What are they doing on their phones that could be so important? I simply don’t understand. We need a system to shut off all phones when the car starts up. Sorry for the passengers, but it’s best for all. Sorry that you might actually have to talk to the person in the car next to you, instead of checking your Facebook account to see if people are paying attention to you.

  • Ronda December 3, 2015 (6:59 am)


    Go back to grammar school. Calling someone out when you are wrong. lol

  • willbehonest December 19, 2015 (12:38 pm)

    Even money says he’s caught drunk driving within a year of his release. Hopefully, no one will die.

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