KINGMAN, Ariz. — A Native American whose image has been used to market the Hualapai Tribe’s Grand Canyon Skywalk in northwest Arizona was sentenced to a lengthy prison term Wednesday for his fifth drunken driving-related conviction.
Mohave County Superior Court Judge Pro Tem Derek Carlisle ordered a 17½-year prison term for Don Havatone, 53.
“The public needs to be protected from this defendant,” Carlisle said. He said Havatone’s drunken driving history was a significant factor in his sentencing decision.
Prosecutor Jace Zack said Havatone racked up his first drunken driving conviction in 1992 and was convicted in an alcohol-related vehicular manslaughter case in 1999 before subsequent drunken driving convictions in 2008, 2012 and most recently, at trial earlier this year.
The prosecutor said it is bewildering that Havatone didn’t stop drinking and driving long ago.
“It’s just unimaginable, but he did it at least three times since he killed somebody,” Zack said. “The defendant is going to drink and drive if he’s not incarcerated. Enough is enough.”
Supporters told the court that Havatone is a good man, except for his alcohol problems. They spoke of his military service and his work as an “ambassador” for the tribe in marketing the Skywalk tourist attraction.
Havatone appears in headdress and tribal garments in Internet and other advertising promoting the glass-bottomed canyon overhang about 170 miles southeast of Las Vegas.
“His picture was used all over the billboards for Hualapai Tourism, and it went global,” said Earlene Havatone, the defendant’s sister.
A jury found Havatone guilty last month of two drunken driving charges, endangerment and five assault counts for injuries to other parties. Havatone said he has no recollection of the September 2012 head-on collision on Historic Route 66 that injured himself, four passengers and the driver of another vehicle.