A Largo man finds himself in an all-too-familiar situation after being charged in Pinellas County with his ninth drunk driving charge.
The 61-year-old man first came to the attention of authorities thanks to a report to 9-1-1 of an erratic driver piloting a blue Ford truck. The witness followed the defendant until Largo police arrived and effected a traffic stop.
Police say they immediately suspected the defendant of impairment, as they say they noted the odor of alcoholic drink, did not speak clearly, and had watery and bloodshot eyes. The defendant declined to participate in a field sobriety test and did not authorize a blood or breath test for alcohol.
The defendant was arrested at the scene and booked into the Pinellas County Jail. He faces a litany of charges, including attaching an unauthorized tag to his vehicle, reckless driving with property damage or injury, refusal to submit to testing, driving a vehicle with a tag not assigned to it, seventh occurrence of driving with a suspended license, felony driving with a suspended license, leaving the scene of a crash with property damage, ninth DUI, and fifth refusal to submit to testing. He continues to be held on a bond of $11,400.
According to local media, his first DUI occurred in 1988, and all his prior DUI charges were in Pinellas County. He was arrested again a year later, followed by an arrest a decade later. An arrest in 2006 led to a prison term of 14 months, and an arrest two years after that yielded a sentence of over two years in prison. In 2012 he was stopped again, and was again sentenced to prison for almost three years.
A portion of his charges still pending involve a September crash. Initially suspected of DUI, prosecutors elected not to charge him with the crime in that instance.