BENTON, Ark. (KTHV) - Benton police arrested a repeat DWI offender Wednesday.
According to a press release from Lt. Kevin Russell, officers were dispatched to a reckless vehicle call in the area of Wright Ave. and Shenandoah Road about 4:10 p.m. Wednesday. While in route to the call, officers were informed by dispatchers the vehicle struck a street sign on Wright Avenue.
Officers located the vehicle in the area of the Carpenter Street overpass merging onto the South Service Road of I-30. The vehicle was reportedly speeding when the officers caught up to it, and after trying to pull the vehicle over, the driver refused to stop.
Officers said the vehicle continued driving erratically, making unsafe lane changes, and nearly struck other vehicles until it eventually pulled over. Officers then contacted the driver of the vehicle, later identified as 49-year-old Sheila Blair. Upon further investigation and testing, Blair was placed under arrest and transported to the Saline County Detention Facility.
Blair is charged with DWI, Refusal to Submit to Test, and Failure to Yield to an Emergency Vehicle. Russell said this makes Blair's eleventh DWI charge since 1995 and she is also an active parolee out of the Arkansas Department of Community Corrections.
A new law will now allow prosecutors to go back ten years to look at repeat offenders criminal history. Before this year, prosecutors could only look back five years in DWI cases. The bill's author, Senator Jeremy Hutchinson from Benton, said it gives prosecutors a better tool to get repeat offenders off the roads.
"Go back and look at their record now for ten years and adding up the number of their convictions, and then if it is six or more, you can get a class b felony which probably at least going to get three years or prison time as opposed to less than a year," said Hutchinson.
Previous THV Stories on Sheila Blair:
A Flaw in our Legal System: The Sheila Blair Case (http://on.kthv.com/17ZsQmE)
Benton woman sentenced for 11th DUI (http://on.kthv.com/17ZsUmr)
Repeat DWI offender tries to get son to cover for her (http://on.kthv.com/15nthsf)