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Former Worthington man sentenced in DWI, car theft cases

WORTHINGTON -- A former Worthington man was sentenced Tuesday in Nobles County District Court on two DWI-related cases and car theft. Christopher Santini Gascot, 23, of Brookings, S.D. received a stay of adjudication and was placed on three years...

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Santini Gascot

WORTHINGTON - A former Worthington man was sentenced Tuesday in Nobles County District Court on two DWI-related cases and car theft.

Christopher Santini Gascot, 23, of Brookings, S.D. received a stay of adjudication and was placed on three years probation for swerving off the road in a stolen motor vehicle and fleeing on foot in late September. He was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine or complete 100 hours of community service in lieu of the fine. He’ll also serve 30 days of electronic alcohol monitoring as a substitute for incarceration, enroll in a 12-hour drug/alcohol class and complete a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) impact panel.

The graduate student at South Dakota State University was also sentenced to 360 days imprisonment for driving while impaired during the same incident. The execution is to be stayed for two years probation to run concurrent with the felony car theft sentence. He also received 90 days imprisonment to be stayed for one year of probation for a misdemeanor DWI conviction from an August incident; he was ordered to pay a fine of more than $500.

Two criminal charges were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

Prior to sentencing, Santini Gascot read a prepared letter claiming the incidents - which he and attorney James Kuettner attributed as out of character - were the result of a stressful period in his life.

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“I’ve quit drinking,” Santini Gascot told Fifth Judicial District Judge Gordon Moore. “It was a wake-up call from God.”

He listed off numerous organizations and volunteer efforts he has undertaken since pursuing a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.

Moore agreed it was unusual for someone like Santini Gascot to be before him in court, but it was nonetheless a reminder of the effect chemical use mixed with personal struggles can have on an individual.

“Your behavior was extreme and unexplainable,” Moore said. “Your decision to get behind the wheel not only endangered yourself, but others.”

Moore told Santini Gascot that he’s young, made a mistake and owned up to it. However, Moore warned, repeat DWI offenders don’t often get many breaks.

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