Stream of DUI arrests still flowing

For 63-year-old Peter Hoobyar, a man whom prosecutors call one of the most prolific drunken drivers in the Peninsula, 10 arrests on suspicion of driving under the influence dating back to 1982 was apparently not enough.

Days before his felony DUI trial Tuesday, the Foster City resident was nabbed again during a routine traffic stop. Police arrested Hoobyar less than a mile from his Foster City home April 16, said his attorney, Geoff Carr.

The drunken driving arrest is his 11th, prosecutors said. Hoobyar had been driving on a temporary but valid license issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles while he awaited a DMV license revocation hearing, Carr said.

His trial, in connection with a Sept. 13 incident in which heallegedly lost control of his car in San Mateo, was reset to May 23 to include the new charges from the April 16 incident. In last year’s incident, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said that Hoobyar had left a sports bar after three hours of drinking when he struck a red light camera at the intersection of Hillsdale Boulevard and Saratoga Drive before careening into another car and coming to rest in the center divide.

Hoobyar then exchanged information with the other driver, who was uninjured, before walking one-tenth of a mile back to the same pub and ordering more drinks, Wagstaffe said. Officers arrested him inside the bar, where his blood-alcohol level was allegedly tested at .23 — almost three times the legal limit.

Carr said authorities couldn’t have known Hoobyar’s initial blood-alcohol level at the time of the crash.

According to the District Attorney’s Office, Hoobyar’s string of DUI convictions began with a misdemeanor arrest in Placer County in 1982. A steady stream of convictions in San Mateo and San Francisco counties followed. Most resulted in county jail time, but Hoobyar was twice sentenced to state prison terms. When he was paroled, the pace continued for the self-employed stage technician.

The new charges could bring six years in prison — more time than Hoobyar has ever served.

“We view it as remarkably fortunate that nobody has been hurt while he’s been intoxicated behind the wheel,” Wagstaffe said. “He’s among one of the most prolific drunk drivers that we’ve had and we’re going to do what we can to end that run.”

Hoobyar, who had been free on bail at the time of last week’s arrest and immediately posted bond, was taken back into custody Tuesday. The judge then raised his bail from $25,000 to $400,000.

tbarak@examiner.com

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