Prosecutors say its Saline County's most extreme case of repeat drunk driving. After nine DWI convictions, 42-year-old Sheila Blair was arrested again Monday for driving under the influence. Blair had a bond hearing Wednesday morning.
After her last conviction in 2004, Blair was sentenced to two years in a Department of Community Corrections treatment facility but was paroled after one year. Now, prosecutors and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) say her latest arrest is proof Blair needs a much stiffer sentence.
Since 1995, police say Sheila Blair has been a regular inside the Saline and Pulaski County jails. Court records show Blair has nine DWIs and several other convictions, including fleeing the scene of an accident.
Saline County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Carrie Robertson says, "She’s extremely dangerous. Her MO is reckless driving and usually citizens will call that in. The police will respond and she's always been under the influence."
Blair was arrested at her home in Benton Monday night after police received a call about an erratic driver in a silver Honda. In the police report, officers say Blair had beer with her as she was getting out of her car then asked her 16-year-old son to tell the officer that he was the one driving. The officer says Blair’s son refused to lie for his mother.
Gerald Harrison, a longtime neighbor of Sheila Blair, says, "She shouldn't been drinking and driving I’ll admit that but she had to have some way to work."
Harrison says his friend doesn't deserve the trouble she's in.
"She’s a hard worker but she's an alcoholic,” he says. “Her mother committed suicide when she was 2 years old. She's had a hard life."
But Teresa Belew with MADD says Blair’s had enough second chances.
Belew, "She has been afforded every opportunity that society allows so that she receives treatment, education and intervention and she has not complied with that."
During a video hearing Wednesday, prosecutors asked Blair’s bond be set at $100,000. Instead, Judge Mike Robinson set it at $50,000.
If she gets out, Belew believes Blair will continue to be a threat on Arkansas roadways.
"She is a clear and present danger to anyone who rides or drives a car in this community and in this state,” she says. “This is someone that we should all be afraid of who has demonstrated that she will flaunt the law—that she will continue to drink and drive."
Robinson did order all law enforcement be notified of Blair’s case and immediately arrest her if she is seen driving.
Blair will be back in court next week for a parole revocation hearing. In Arkansas, DWI becomes a felony offense on a fourth conviction but only if they fall in a five-year period. Blair’s been convicted six times in the last five years.