Trial set for man in second felony DUI |

Trial set for man in second felony DUI

by Sheila Gardner

A 47-year-old Gardnerville Ranchos man is set for trial in May on a felony drunk driving charge that could result in a return to prison if he is convicted.

Steven John Kozlowski pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence with a prior felony, two counts of battery on an officer, and attempting to elude.

The charges stem from an Aug. 22, 2009, arrest after deputies said Kozlowski was intoxicated, and speeding on his motorcycle up to 90 mph as he drove south on Highway 395 into the Gardnerville Ranchos.

At a preliminary hearing in December, the arresting officers alleged that Kozlowski ignored commands to stop, struggled with officers, kicked and yelled obscenities once he was apprehended.

According to reports, his blood-alcohol content was .167, more than twice the legal limit. He also reportedly had marijuana in his system.

If Kozlowski is convicted of the DUI, he would face a mandatory prison sentence for a second felony.

He served a November 2010 sentence of 12-30 months for felony DUI.

While in prison, he suffered several falls and appeared in court earlier this year in a protective headgear. Kozlowski attended Monday’s hearing in a wheelchair.

Kozlowski and his wife, Michelle, have filed a lawsuit against the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the officers who arrested him on allegations of excessive force.

The Kozlowskis filed suit in August and are representing themselves in the litigation.

Douglas County is represented by Katherine Parks of the law firm of Thorndal, Armstrong, Delk, Balkenbush and Eisinger. The defendants are requesting a jury trial. No date has been set.

In his lawsuit, Kozlowski maintained that he had protected status as a “vulnerable person.”

Nevada Revised Statute defines a vulnerable person as someone 18 or older who suffers from physical or mental incapacitation because of a developmental disability, organic brain damage or mental illness; or has physical or mental limitations that restrict the ability of the person to perform normal activities.

In July 2011, Kozlowski dropped efforts for a competency hearing on the 2009 DUI charge.

On Monday, District Judge Michael Gibbons questioned whether Kozlowski needed two lawyers to represent him. Matthew Ence is his court-appointed attorney, and Lee Hotchkin of Reno was hired by Kozlowski’s father-in-law to represent him on the DUI charge.

Kozlowski said Hotchkin wanted additional money to represent him on the other charges which he could not afford.

Gibbons said he would consider appointing one of the attorneys to represent Kozlowski on all counts.

He set alternate trial dates of June 5 and Aug. 14.