David Black gets 15-month prison term in DUII case

Had served six years in street-racing deaths

BEND, Ore. - A 32-year-old Bend man who spent more than six years in prison after a controversial conviction in a street-racing crash that killed two teens was sentenced Monday to 15 months in prison after a jury convicted him of driving drunk with a suspended license and lying about his name to a police officer two years ago.

David Allen Black's driver's license remains revoked because of his manslaughter conviction in 2004, resulting from his involvement in speed racing east of Bend in August of 2003 that led to a crash and the death of a 16-year-old driver, Danielle Gates, and 15-year-old passenger Stephanie Beeksma.

At Monday's sentencing before Deschutes County Circuit Judge Bethany Flint, prosecutors noted Black had made a choice to drive with a suspended license and a blood alcohol level registered at .11, then used his brother's name when he was stopped.

Flint's 15-month sentence was on the conviction of criminal driving with a suspended license. He also faces two years of post-prison supervision and must be evaluated for alcohol abuse and complete any recommended treatment. He cannot use or possess alcohol or frequent bars or other places where alcohol is the chief item for sale.

NewsChannel 21's Pedro Quintana was in court for Monday's sentencing and will have a full report on NewsChannel 21 at Five, Six and Seven.

On the evening of October 12, 2014, a Bend police officer spotted Black "driving at an extremely high rate of speed" on Highway 20 east of 27th Street, District Attorney John Hummel said in a news release announcing the jury's verdict.

"Black was pulled over, lied about his name, was observed to be impaired, then bragged about how fast his car was," Hummel wrote.

“Because Mr. Black’s actions in 2004 did not directly cause the death of Stephanie Beeksma his manslaughter conviction divided our community,” Hummel said.

“But regardless of one’s opinion of that prosecution, I trust we all agree that David Black driving a souped-up sports car at a high rate of speed while impaired by alcohol is disrespectful to Stephanie, her family, and our community,” the DA added.

Black was booked into the county jail after the verdict and held without bail, according to online records. His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 24 at 1:30 p.m. 

“It’s unfortunate that David Black appears to have learned nothing from the tragedy that cost Stephanie Beeksma her life," Hummel said.

" Unless and until he grows up and appreciates the danger of impaired and reckless driving me and my deputies stand ready to continue to hold him accountable for his dangerous actions.”

Deputy DA Kari Hathorn, who Hummel called "one of Oregon’s top DUII attorneys," prosecuted this case. He said the Bend Police Department "conducted a top-notch and through investigation."

In August 2003, Crook County sheriff's officers broke up a street-racing gathering in the Four Corners area east of Alfalfa, and several cars sped back to Bend on the area's narrow, twisting roads; deputies said they were not pursuing them.

Black, 19 at the time, said a car driven by 16-year-old Danielle Gates came up behind him, challenging him to a race. After racing at speeds well over 100 mph, Black said Gates passed him and went on to race Randy Clifford, also 19.

Black insisted he backed off Gates' car before she lost control going into a turn, hitting an oncoming van and killing herself and her passenger, Beeksma, also seriously injuring the driver of the other vehicle.

Clifford, also charged with manslaughter, eventually took a plea deal and spent little time in jail. But Black and his family firmly professed his innocence and turned down any deal.

Instead, Deschutes County Circuit Judge Stephen Tiktin held a trial – recorded by ABC for a later newsmagazine segment – and found Black guilty of manslaughter. Under the mandatory minimum sentence requirements of Oregon's Measure 11, he said he had no choice but to sentence Black to over six years in prison.

One post-prison condition clearly bothered Black in interviews – that his driver's license would be suspended and he could not legally drive a car again for eight years after his release, which would mean until 2018.

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