50 Years Handed Down by Judge Coker for DWI, LIVINGSTON, October 21, 2010 - On October 20, 2010, a Polk County jury found Harold Ray Clements guilty of Felony Driving While Intoxicated. On August 30, 2009, Clements had driven to the Wal-Mart in Livingston from Orange, Texas. When he attempted to park he ran into a car already parked in the lot. A witness saw the incident and watched as Clements drank some beer and staggered off into the store. The witness then contacted store security. Store security contacted the Livingston Police Department.
When Sergeant Leon Middleton arrived he interviewed the witnesses who identified Clements as the driver of the truck that had hit the parked car. When Clements returned to the area he denied being the driver. Due to the witness statements, Clements’ unsteady balance, the strong odor of alcohol coming from Clements, and Clements’ admission of drinking at least three beers Middleton asked him to perform a series of field sobriety tests.
Middleton first asked Clements to perform the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. Nystagmus is an involuntary jerking of the eye that is caused by the consumption of a large amount of alcohol. Sergeant Middleton noted that Clements displayed four of the accepted clues of intoxication during this test. During the second test, the walk and turn test, Clements displayed several indications he was intoxicated, including: starting the test too soon, not touching heel-to-toe and performing the turn wrong. Clements claimed he was unable to perform the final evaluation, the one leg stand test, because he had weak ankles. Sergeant Middleton then placed Clements under arrest for driving while intoxicated. When asked to take a breath test, Clements refused.
Clements has two previous convictions for misdemeanor driving while intoxicated in 1992 and 1995 in Brazoria County, Texas. After hearing the evidence, the jury deliberated for thirty minutes and returned a verdict of guilty. 258th Judicial District Court Judge Elizabeth Coker then heard evidence of Clements’ criminal history. In addition to his two misdemeanor convictions for driving while intoxicated, Clements has three previous convictions for felony driving while intoxicated in 2002 and 2005. Those convictions were also in Brazoria County. In each of those convictions he was sentenced to two years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Institutional Division. Because of his criminal history Clements was facing a minimum of twenty-five years in prison.
While out on bond on the felony DWI charge Clements tested positive for alcohol and cocaine and was placed on a conditional bond by Judge Elizabeth Coker requiring that he report once a week to the probation department to be tested for drug use. After hearing the testimony concerning Clements’ criminal history and his continuing use of alcohol and illegal drugs, Judge Coker sentenced Clements to fifty years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Institutional Division. Kaycee Jones, the assistant district attorney who prosecuted Clements said “The District Attorney’s Office is extremely pleased with the verdict and sentence handed down in this case. Drunk drivers are a menace who endanger innocent lives everyday and the residents of Polk County are fed up with this behavior threatening their lives and the lives of their families. The jury and the judge have sent a message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.”
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