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AUBURN — A Fleming woman has been sentenced to prison for driving drunk on three separate occasions last year.

Misty Ellis, of Scipio Townline Road, was arrested for driving while intoxicated twice in August and once in November 2016, Cayuga County Assistant District Attorney Diane Adsit said Tuesday in court. As a result, the 30-year-old was charged with seven felonies, including four counts of DWI, two counts of aggravated DWI with a child passenger and one count of first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. 

After her arrest in November, Ellis was remanded to Cayuga County Jail without bail as Judge Thomas Leone said she posed a danger to herself and the community. Then, in January 2017, Ellis pleaded guilty to four of the felonies in exchange for two to six years in prison. 

In court Tuesday, Ellis' defense attorney Rome Canzano said his client had taken full responsibility for her actions and asked Leone to consider a lighter sentence than what was agreed upon at the time of her plea. 

"(Ellis) had three DWIs back to back to back, and one of them her child was in the car," he said, acknowledging the severity of the crimes. "But she is remorseful for what she has done." 

Ellis also apologized to the court, claiming she had been the victim of sexual assault and turned to drinking as a way to cope with her trauma. That assault is currently under investigation, she said.

"I've never been to jail before August and now I'm going to prison," Ellis said. "Two years is a long time to be away from my child." 

In response, Leone addressed Ellis' "rather lengthy criminal history" and said he would not deviate from their agreement, sentencing Ellis to one to three years in prison on each of the four felonies. Two of those sentences will run consecutively to one another for a total of two to six years in prison. 

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In addition, Ellis was ordered to pay $4,000 in fines and roughly $1,000 in surcharges. She will also serve three years conditional discharge upon her release from prison, which will require an ignition interlock device be placed on any vehicle she has access to. 

Also in court:

• A Genoa man was sentenced to one to three years in prison for his second drunk driving conviction.

On Dec. 30, 2016, Michael Zirbel, of 10037 State Route 90, was charged with several felonies and misdemeanors after driving while intoxicated and assaulting the arresting officer. 

"It was a very ugly, dangerous thing," said Canzano, Zirbel's defense attorney, noting that his client wrestled the officer to the ground at the time of his arrest. "When sober, (Zirbel) is a decent, hardworking guy. But when he drinks, things get violent."

Zirbel was initially charged with third-degree menacing, second-degree obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, DWI with a previous conviction and using a vehicle without an ignition interlock device. However, Adsit allowed the 40-year-old to plead guilty to felony DWI and driving without a license. 

"I'd just like to apologize to the officer and the community," Zirbel said. "Hopefully I can get things straightened out." 

Leone sentenced Zirbel to one to three years in prison on each count, all to run concurrent to one another. Zirbel will also serve five years post-incarceration probation and pay more than $3,000 in fines. 

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Staff writer Megan Blarr can be reached at (315) 282-2282 or megan.blarr@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter @CitizenBlarr. 

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