A Clark County man convicted for the 14th time for drinking and driving will spend the next six years in prison.
William Newman, 53, had his case continued two times before he was sentenced by Clark County Common Pleas Court Judge Richard O’Neill on Tuesday. He faced up to 10 years in prison because he was a repeat offender.
Health problems have plagued Newman since his arrest. Before learning his fate, Newman asked the judge to postpone his sentence for a surgery to remove clots from his leg. A similar procedure is why the other hearings were continued.
“I do have a drinking problem, and I am sorry for what I’ve done,” Newman said. “And, your honor, my doctor said it was imperative I have this surgery to get my left leg done because it’s 100 percent blocked, and it could result in me having a stroke or a heart attack.”
Lisa Fannin, Clark County assistant prosecutor, argued Newman could receive treatment in prison, and that he posed a significant risk to the community while not behind bars because he continued to drink and drive. Ultimately, O’Neill agreed, sentencing him to six years, fining him $1,350 and suspending his license for 25 years.
Newman has been convicted of operating a vehicle while under the influence in 1978, four times in the 1980s, five times in the 1990s and in 2005, 2007 and 2009. The last time he was convicted, Newman received two-and-a-half years in prison and lost his license for 15 years — a penalty that Fannin said didn’t prevent him from driving drunk in February and striking two parked cars on Richwood Road in Northridge. The vehicle he was driving was registered to a friend, according to court records.
“Most of the time these people don’t have vehicles registered in their name. Unfortunately, they find a way to drink and drive,” she said. “That’s why it’s important to send them to prison for the maximum possible time in order to protect the public.”