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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Clark man convicted of fifth DWI

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  • A Clark, Mo., man has been convicted of driving while intoxicated for the fifth time after a Phelps County jury Friday found him guilty of driving while intoxicated - chronic offender, a class B felony.
    On April 26, the jury deliberated for almost two hours before finding the man, Patrick Baker, 44, guilty according to a press release from the Phelps County prosecutor’s office.
    Baker also was found to be a prior and persistent offender, which rachets up the punishment.
    Baker was convicted of a DWI offense on March 29, 2009 after being stopped for running a red light by Detective Harry Eckman, who was with the Rolla Police Department at the time.
    Eckman noted the smell of alcohol on Baker’s breath, and Baker performed poorly on field sobriety tests and refused to take a breathalyzer, the press release stated.
    “I want to give all the credit to Harry Eckman,” said Phelps County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Brendan Fox, who prosecuted the case. “He (Eckman) did an excellent investigation which ultimately led to this conviction. Even after four years, it was clear to the jury that Detective Eckman did everything the right way.”
    Phelps County Prosecutor John Beger said he was pleased with the result of the jury.
    “Drunk drivers are a serious danger to our families and community,” Beger said. “A person who repeatedly makes the decision to drink to excess and drive an automobile is stupid.
    “Mr. Fox did an excellent job on a particularly difficult case. I support him and the hardline he has taken with repeat DWI offenders. My office will continue to strive to protect Phelps County from these dangerous criminals,” Beger added.
    Baker is set for sentencing on July 1, 2013, at 1 p.m. before Circuit Judge William Hickle. Baker faces from five years to life imprisonment without eligibility for probation or parole until he has served at least two prison terms.

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