Bristol man gets 7 years for DUI death

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A Bristol man is facing seven years in prison after killing another man in a drunk driving accident last year.

Joseph Kalen, 50, with a last known address of 99 Peck St., Bristol, pleaded no contest Wednesday in Newport County Superior Court to Driving under the influence, death resulting, and driving to endanger resulting in physical injury, Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced.

Superior Court Justice Edward C. Clifton sentenced Kalen to 15 years, with seven years to serve, and the remaining eight years suspended. Justice Clifton also sentenced Kalen two years suspended with probation on the charge of driving to endanger resulting in physical injury. Kalen must also undergo substance abuse counseling and will be unable to drive for five years after his release from the ACI.

Portsmouth police said Mr. Kalen was driving south on Bristol Ferry Road at about 4:45 p.m. on June 12, 2013 when he lost control of his 2005 Ford F-150, which crossed the center line and hit a 2005 Lexus being driven north by Elia Giust, 79, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and Bristol. After striking Mr. Giusti’s car, Mr. Kalen’s truck hit a 2005 Ford F-150 also being driven north by Brian Leitao, 26, of Warren.

Mr. Giusti was pronounced dead at Newport Hospital, and Mr. Leitao was treated and released from Rhode Island Hospital.

When the police arrived on scene, Mr. Kalen was sitting on the sidewalk near the collision scene with severe cuts to his face and a strong smell of alcohol on his breath, the attorney general said.

Portsmouth Police Officer Daguanno reported that Mr. Kalen's speech was slurred and he mumbled through an interview. After he refused a breathalyzer test, Portsmouth Police got a warrant to take his blood. The test revealed a blood alcohol content of .249, more than triple the legal limit of .08.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.