From the Henderson County District Attorney's Office:
HENDERSON COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - On Thursday, May 17th a
Henderson County jury sentenced George Wayne Smith, 46, of Log Cabin, to 99
years in the penitentiary for an August 26th, 2011 early morning DWI
on FM 3054 in Log Cabin. Judge Mark
Calhoon of the 3rd Judicial District Court presided over the trial.
The jury of nine women and three
men found Smith guilty after a day and ½ of testimony presented by District
Attorney Scott McKee and Assistant District Attorney Bridget Bateman.
Log Cabin Police Officer Jonathan
Hutchinson testified that shortly after midnight on August 26th,
2011, he was running radar at the intersection of SH 198 and FM 3054 when
Smith, who was riding a motorcycle, ran off the road and into a ditch while
making the turn from 198 to 3054.
Hutchinson testified that he
immediately activated his overhead lights and attempted to stop Smith who had
recovered from running of the road and was continuing east on FM 3054. After approximately ½ of a mile, Smith
finally stopped. Hutchinson told the
jury that immediately after making contact with Smith, he could smell a strong
odor of alcohol and that Smith had slurred speech.
Hutchinson along with assistance
from Caney City Officer Chris Meyers, conducted field sobriety tests on Smith
and determined that he was intoxicated and that Smith had numerous other DWI
arrests. The jury also watched the
videotape of the incident which was recorded from Officer Hutchinson's patrol
Smith was placed into custody and
transported to ETMC of Athens for a blood draw.
Karen Ream, a forensic scientist from the Texas Department of Public
Safety testified that she analyzed the blood drawn from Smith that night and
determined that he had a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .177, over twice the
legal limit of .08.
After the jury found Smith guilty
of DWI on Wednesday evening, the punishment phase opened Thursday morning with
D.A. McKee telling the jury what he referred to as "the rest of the
story". During his opening statements on
punishment, McKee told the jury that Smith had numerous DWIs and had even been
to the penitentiary in the past on numerous occasions for DWI.
Assistant D.A. Bridget Bateman
introduced 11 prior DWI charges into evidence for the jury. Bateman also had Investigator Monte Mansfield
of the Gun Barrel City Police Department, a certified fingerprint expert,
testify that he had compared the fingerprints on the prior DWI charges with
that of Smith and they were Smith's.
In his closing arguments to the
jury, McKee highlighted Smith's extensive history of DWI convictions before
asking them to send him to the penitentiary.
"It is beyond comprehension that
Smith was back on the street after so many prior DWIs." Said McKee to the jury. "Somewhere our system has failed when a man
with 11 prior DWIs is allowed to have a driver's license and is even out of
jail and on the streets."
McKee indicated his office works
closely with MADD and law enforcement agencies to work towards DWI
education. "We just want people to know
that if they drink, we don't want them to drive." McKee also indicated that he is working with
Representative Lance Gooden and Senator Robert Nichols this legislative session
to sponsor a bill he authored making it tougher on intoxicated drivers that
injure others as a result of an automobile crash.