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posted: 7/9/2010 12:01 AM

10th DUI nets Wheaton man 24-year prison term

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  • Gordon Vanderark

    Gordon Vanderark


A Wheaton man who hasn't had a valid license since 1980 was sentenced Thursday to 24 years in prison for his 10th drunken driving conviction.

Gordon Vanderark, 52, 1200 Bunker Hill, is eligible for parole after serving half the prison term. He faced a possible punishment of nine to 36 years in prison.

DuPage Circuit Judge Blanche Hill Fawell sentenced Vanderark after his earlier guilty plea for aggravated DUI and driving with a revoked license.

Police arrested Vanderark about 2 a.m. July 18, 2009 after they spotted him driving north on Blanchard Road in Wheaton with the trunk of his car open. Vanderark also was accused of failing to make a proper stop.

Prosecutor Audriana Anderson said Vanderark, who was wearing one shoe while driving, smelled of alcohol and had slurred speech and bloodshot, glassy eyes. She said Vanderark also failed field-sobriety tests and had a blood-alcohol level of .164 - more than twice the legal threshold of .08 - three hours after being pulled over.

Vanderark served several stints in prison for 11 felony offenses, ranging from DUI to forgery. He was freed from prison in January 2008 after serving part of a 10-year term for forgery and still was on parole when arrested last year in Wheaton. Vanderark admitted he has an alcoholism problem and asked for another chance to get help, but Fawell noted he squandered earlier treatment opportunities.

The Wheaton man received his first DUI in 1978.