ITHACA, N.Y. — A man pled guilty Thursday afternoon to driving drunk when he led a Tompkins County sheriff’s deputy on a chase in February.

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Richard L. Bitter III, of Hector, admitted to felony driving while intoxicated as part of a plea deal that limits his sentence to one to three years in jail and a $2,000 fine. He will also have the chance to ask for a lesser sentence, such as probation, instead of being incarcerated.

Bitter’s attorney, Jerome Mayersak, said Bitter is currently released on interim probation and has completed inpatient treatment. He said Bitter can prove that he is not a danger to the community and willing to “stay on track” if he was sentenced to probation instead of jail time.

Bitter was arrested on Feb. 28 after he was driving erratically on Slaterville Road and stopped his truck by a deputy.

The deputy turned on his emergency lights and told the driver to remain where he was stopped. Instead, the driver backed up, turned around in the road and drove west on Slaterville Road.

Bitter eventually stopped at the end of Penny Lane, got out of the vehicle and tried fleeing by running through a parking lot. The officer was able to chase him down and take him into custody.

His blood alcohol content was .19, over the legal limit of .08.

“I was driving my truck under the influence of alcohol because I was drunk,” Bitter said in court. “I made some poor decisions.”

It’s Bitter’s second DWI in less than 10 years. He was convicted of driving drunk Aug. 10, 2005. He was also convicted of third-degree attempted robbery in 2011, records show. 

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.