Porterville man gets county time for younger brother’s death

FRESNO — A Porterville man was sentenced Tuesday to one year in county jail for the drunk-driving accident that killed his younger brother in June.

Robert Van Winkle, 22, was behind the wheel of a car with a blood alcohol concentration level above the legal limit when his vehicle crashed into a tree at North Balch Park Road near Springville.

Van Winkle’s 17-year-old brother Jacob, who was in the passenger seat at the time of the accident, was due to attend his graduation ceremony at Porterville High School that same day.

Prosecutor Todd Zocchi had asked the judge to sentence Robert Van Winkle to state prison, saying that Van Winkle had decided to drink and drive even after previous warnings from law enforcement.

“Instead, his 17-year-old brother is dead; somebody this defendant should have been looking out for,” Zocchi said.

Judge Brett Aldredge instead sentenced Van Winkle to a year in county jail, saying the case was unique because the defendant and victim were brothers.

As part of his sentencing, Van Winkle must complete a DUI program and get substance abuse treatment following his sentence. He is expected to turn himself into authorities to begin serving his sentence on Dec. 10.

Porterville man gets county time for younger brother’s death was last modified: July 9th, 2012 by admin
Categories: Fresno

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