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75-year-old Seattle man sentenced after 19 DUI convictions

Dwight Benson has not had a valid driver's license since 1999.

SEATTLE — A 75-year-old Seattle man was sentenced Friday after 19 convictions related to driving under the influence. Dwight Benson was sentenced to 84 months with credit for time served. 

King County Superior Judge David Steiner handed down the sentence Friday. At Benson's most recent DUI conviction in early October, Steiner said, “I can’t fathom, in reason, I could convince myself or even try to convince myself that at this point Mr. Benson has changed his stripes and will no longer consume alcohol, get impaired and drive behind the wheel of a car." 

RELATED: 75-year-old Seattle man found guilty of 17th DUI-related charge

In court, a public defender argued the Vietnam-era combat veteran wasn’t himself in April of 2019 when he crashed into an oncoming vehicle overnight. Benson and the other driver were both able to walk away from the crash.

The state described Benson as a “habitual traffic offender” and called him “incredibly dangerous to the community.”

A spokesperson for Mothers Against Drunk Driving called Benson's repeat offenses a failure of the system. The organization said the goal of prosecution should be to stop the behavior from happening again and clearly, in Benson's case, that did not happen.

KING 5 previously reported Benson had 17 DUI-related convictions. On Friday, a bailiff to Judge Steiner said Benson's most recent case makes 19 DUI convictions. 

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