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Sixth DWI lands woman in prison

A judge called an Amherst woman "a DWI fatality waiting to happen" as he ordered her to spend the next one to three years in state prison on her sixth drunken-driving charge in the past nine years.

Deborah A. Mitchum, 44, of Homecrest Drive, Amherst, also was fined $1,865 on her felony driving while intoxicated conviction. She had refused to take a breath test during her latest DWI arrest in the 1900 block of Eggert Road at about 7 p.m. last March 17.

State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns noted that Mitchum, the manager of a Niagara Falls Boulevard restaurant, had been placed on probation by other judges four previous times. Yet in the past decade, she also accumulated nine arrests for driving without a license linked to her drunken-driving history.

"Time and again you have been given considerations, and it hasn't worked," Burns said, adding "you are a DWI fatality waiting to happen."

The judge told her he didn't want to see her on the area's roads "one more day" given her record of drunken driving and the threat she poses to other motorists and pedestrians.

Thomas Trbovich, Mitchum's lawyer, unsuccessfully argued for a "strong counseling program" to keep her out of jail but he conceded she "appears to have an alcohol problem."

Mitchum told the judge she recently began getting alcoholism counseling because "I am trying to change. I am getting too old for this now."

Mitchum unsuccessfully asked the judge to impose a weekends-in-jail sentence because otherwise she will lose her restaurant job and her house.

Prosecutors Nora B. Robsaw and Bethany A. Solek said Mitchum's first drunken-driving arrest was in the Genesee County Village of Corfu in 1989. They said she was convicted in 1993 in West Seneca and Buffalo, in 2000 in the Town of Tonawanda and in Amherst last year.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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