PHOENIX—Duane Richard Principale (D.O.B. 10/20/1959) has been sentenced to 20 years in the Department of Corrections for killing three people in a head-on collision that was a result of his intoxication. He plead guilty to three counts of Manslaughter, which are Class 3 dangerous felonies.
“Three innocent people lost their lives because of the thoughtless actions of this individual,” said Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel. “I’d like to urge everyone in our community to be mindful that when you decide to drive under the influence you are a danger to others, and the consequences are real.”
On October 2, 2017, Principale had visited two different bars and consumed various types of alcohol. He then made the decision to drive his vehicle. While driving, he drifted left of center while traveling 61mph in a 40-mph zone and hit a vehicle head-on, killing all three passengers inside. The defendant’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)—tested less than one hour after the crash—was .173. He had one prior DUI conviction from New York in 2012.
A defense expert claimed that the defendant potentially had an undiagnosed heart issue, that when combined with alcohol, caused him to pass out prior to the crash. However, the prosecution retained the Medical Director of Cardiovascular Quality at University of Arizona, who determined that the defense expert’s opinion was unrealistic.