Serial drunk driver facing state prison time

MIDDLEBURG – A Middleburg man is facing state prison charges after seven drunken driving offenses.  55-year-old Kermit Kratzer entered a guilty plea Friday for driving under the influence October 1, 2011 along Salem Road in PennTownship, Snyder County.  Kratzer lost control of his vehicle and hit a guardrail and a home.  He is facing charges of DUI, reckless endangerment and hit and run.

The incident is prompting Snyder County District Attorney Mike Piecuch to take a hard look at the states DUI laws.  He says this was Kratzer’s seventh DUI, however, the other six incidents occurred more than 10 years ago.  Under law, repeat DUI offenders receive enhanced penalties, but only convictions in the past 10 years count toward those enhancements.

Piecuch says “State prison is the most appropriate place for the habitual drunk driver, but that option would not have been available here if Kratzer had not struck a house resulting in reckless endangerment charges.”  He says he intends to meet with local legislators to find solutions for ensuring appropriate penalties for serial offenders. (Sara Bartlett)