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Judge Gives Former Fire Captain 4 Years in Prison for Hit-Run DUI After He's Drunk on Cleaner in Jail

"I can't fix you," judge tells disgraced Long Beach Fire Capt. John Hines Friday morning.

An Orange County Superior Court judge Friday morning revoked the probation of a former Long Beach fire captain and gave him the full four year prison sentence for his conviction of the drunken hit and run of a Seal Beach cyclist last year.

John Hines was allegedly getting drunk off hand sanitizer at Huntington Beach’s pay-to-stay city jail, where he was serving time in lieu of state prison. His sentence was the doing of the judge in his case, not the Orange County District Attorney's Office that prosecuted the case and believed prison time was appropriate. Hines was a Long Beach Fire Captain until shortly after his arrest, when he was either fired or quit.

The full story will be coming from court soon.

Earlier story before court today:

The judge will have the option of revoking John David Hines’ probation, sending him to state prison for his full 4-year and 4-month prison sentence. In November, that sentence was suspended on the condition that he serves a year in a local jail and completes five years of probation.

Hines, 38, was transferred back to the Orange County Jail in January after officers at the Huntington Beach jail allegedly found him intoxicated.

His suspended sentence had taken into account the fact that Hines had no criminal record and had undergone treatment for alcohol addiction. It was granted even though prosecutor Andrew Katz argued for a harsher punishment because Hines was three times the legal limit when he struck a rider on Westminster Avenue and sped away as witnesses chased him, screaming for him to stop.

The reduced sentence also came over the objections of his victim Jeffrey Gordon, who told the court he may never fully recover and was upset that Hines "may suffer little or no consequences for his actions."

Hines had been in the Huntington Beach jail for less than a month when he staggered and appeared to be intoxicated, Huntington Beach Police Lt. Mike Freeman said in January.

Mike Ruehle March 16, 2012 at 08:39 PM
According to the Orange County Register, Superior Court Judge Erick Larsh gave Hines 402 days of credit for time served, including five months of rehabilitation. The incident occurred April 1, 2011. How could Hines have already served 402 days???? http://www.ocregister.com/news/hines-344985-judge-jail.html Do city employees use a different calendar than the rest of the populace?
John B. Greet March 16, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Don't know, Ruehle, but the judge isn't a city employee and it was he, and not Hines, who calculated the time-served credit. Sounds as if you may be on to something here, though. Why not access the court transcripts (which should be a little more detailed on this) and let us know what you learn?
Emily Knell March 16, 2012 at 11:11 PM
Hand sanitizer? I can't imagine thinking that it may actually be possible to get drunk on the stuff, that's so nasty! I think I saw on the show Intervention a couple years ago where a lady was addicted to getting 'drunk' on gallons of orange flavored mouthwash. I want to throw up just thinking about either of those alcoholic beverage choices.
Drew March 17, 2012 at 06:50 PM
It's tragic that this man who once had a very promising career, allowed alcohol to be hia undoing. I recalled this case and felt that it was a travesty that he received such a light sentence considering he was a trusted public servant. His off duty behavior betrayed him.
Nancy Wride (Editor) March 17, 2012 at 08:17 PM
And is there some calculation of days served that gives half days extra for good time or something, John? Because 402 days is pushing 13.5 months, and its not been a year since the crash....And does it seem realistic he will serve the time in prison given overcrowding that is leading to early release? It seems minus the 402 days, Hines would be serving a bit over three years......
Nancy Wride (Editor) March 18, 2012 at 07:56 AM
Just tripped on this description of how Hines was able to drink hand sanitizer that would seem toxic: http://www.mydesert.com/usatoday/article/38830527?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|Frontpage|p

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