Man sentenced for driving drunk with young passenger

Local

A local man will spend the next 15 years to life in prison for repeatedly driving drunk around the Capital Region. Back in August, Joseph Corrodore, 55, was stopped by Albany Police after blowing through a red light. When officers pulled him over, they found his 6 -year-old daughter improperly restrained in the back seat.

Since 1982, Corrodore had four felony DWI convictions, one misdemeanor DWI conviction, and a plea to DWAI as a violation. Altogether, Mary Tanner-Richter, Chief of Albany County District Attorney’s Vehicular Crimes Bureau said Coorodore had 7 DWI offenses. “Virtually all of his prior DWIs had dangerous driving components to them. He went the wrong way down a one way street for one of them. He had crashed in another one,” said Tanner-Richter. “It started back I believe when he was 16 years of age and it just never stuck,” she said.

Since it had been ten years since his last felony DWI conviction, had Corrodore not had his daughter in the car with him, he would have only been facing a misdemeanor charge rather than the felony. “Ridiculous, but that’s the way the statute is written,” said Tanner-Richter.

This time around — prosecutors pushed for “persistent felon” status, asking the judge to review Corrodore’s ongoing criminal behavior. Tanner-Richter tells News10 it’s only the second time in her nearly 20 years in Albany County that a judge has handed down this type of sentence to a repeat DWI offender. She said it was not an easy decision for Judge McDonough, but said after looking at all of the components and listening to the defendant’s own testimony, in which he admitted he was still drinking, it was the only logial choice. “Looking at the interest of the public, including his own family, this seemed to be the only thing that we could guarantee that he would not potentially harm somebody,” said Tanner-Richter.

Local victims and family members tell News10 this sentence sets an example and provides the slightest bit of justice. Here in the Capital Region, many will always remember Christopher Stewart and Deanna Rivers, two local high school students who were killed by a drunk driver in December of 2012. Stewart’s mother, Regina, releasing this statement following Corrodore’s sentencing:
     “I’m happy to hear of a sentence that will last long enough to make an impact. Sitting in jail for a minimum of 15 years gives a long length of time to think about what has happened. It provides the slightest bit of justice to victims and their families and solitary time for the offender to dwell on his life and the poor choices he’s made. If he’s an alcoholic it will hopefully offer the time needed to sober up permanently and manage his disease. The judge should be commended for handing down a sentence that will impact the offenders life for a long while since his repeated offenses seemed to have been minimized previously in court. Multiple DWI’s are unfortunate anytime. It should never take repeated offenses before a hefty sentence is handed down. I wish we had more judges like this and less tolerance for these crimes. If people knew they’d go to jail for a DWI they’d likely use Uber or call a taxi a lot more often.”

Anna Russo, lost her 4-year-old daughter, Gabriella, and 6-year-old nephew to a drunk driver back in October of 1989. Her sister-in-law also permanently handicapped from her injuries. “I think that this is the beginning of the message,” said Russo. She said she applaudes Judge McDonough’s courage to send Corrodore away for such a significant amount of time and hopes surrounding judges will follow in his footsteps. 

Russo said Judges who feel sorry taking the defendant away from their family for so long should start taking the victims’ lives, who have been impacted at no fault of their own, into consideration too. “Everybody is looking at it like, ‘oh well he has a family and the family needs him. He’s the father, they need the food — great — well so do my kids! While every kids mom was at school with their children I was home in bed because I couldn’t get out. My husband couldnt go to work, so he couldn’t put food on the table either! As the victim, you can’t focus on doing anything else except missing your child,” said Russo.

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