Renewed calls for database after man's 4th DWI arrest
BATON ROUGE - There are renewed calls for a statewide DWI database after a man was picked up for his fourth DWI arrest in about eight years.
According to arrest records, 28-year-old Jacob Walker hit a car near I-12 and O'Neal Lane over the weekend but kept going before he was finally pulled over. Baton Rouge Police noted that there was a half empty bottle of "MD 2020" on the front seat of the truck, and the defendant was driving on a suspended license.
Walker's blood alcohol level shows he was more than two times over the legal limit at 0.199, according to authorities.
Arrest records show Walker has been picked up before for arrests in 2008, 2009, and 2014. However, only one of those arrests turned into a conviction when Walker pleaded guilty in 2009. His second DWI arrest was never billed, and he is awaiting trial for his third arrest.
Because some of Walker's arrests occurred in different parishes, there were problems trying to chase down the dispositions of those cases since there's no statewide database linking them together.
"We have to find out where the prior DWI was, whether it's in state court, district court or municipality, which makes it even harder," EBR District Attorney Hillar Moore said.
For the past few years, the WBRZ Investigative Unit has showcased the need for a functioning database. Pete Adams with the District Attorney's Association has been trying to get a system online for his entire career.
"Do we have a DWI database, the answer is yes," Adams said in December 2014. "Is it reliable? No. Is it accurate? No. Is it complete? No. Are we getting there? Yes. And unfortunately it's not as easy as snapping your fingers."
But as offenders like Walker continue to drive on the roads, the need continues for an accurate database.
"We've been trying to get this online for ten years, it's a slow process," Moore said
Prosecutors say Walker is waiting to go to trial on last year's DWI arrest. Depending on what happens with that case will determine whether prosecutors charge him with second or third offense DWI.