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Crash leads to habitual DWI charge
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Crash leads to habitual DWI charge
Conviction carries mandatory prison sentence; charge remains rare




Wilson police arrested a woman on her fourth drunken-driving charge after authorities say she crashed her car into a ditch last week.

Officers responded to a wreck at 4:14 p.m. Friday and found 48-year-old Mendy Morris Faires of 9311 Winters Road northwest of Bailey inside the crashed car. While paramedics evaluated Faires, police determined that she was intoxicated, Wilson police spokesman Sgt. John Slaughter said.

Faires was taken to Wilson Medical Center for treatment, and police administered a blood test to determine her blood-alcohol content. Slaughter said results of that test were not available Monday.

Police charged Faires with habitual driving while impaired, possession of non-tax-paid alcoholic beverage, driving while license revoked and exceeding a safe speed. She was booked into the Wilson County Detention Center under a $15,000 secured bond.

 

HISTORY OF IMPAIRED DRIVING

Authorities can charge a motorist with habitual impaired driving after he or she has been convicted of driving while impaired three or more times in the past 10 years. The charge is a Class F felony carrying a minimum one-year prison sentence.

Faires has three DWI convictions in North Carolina, two from Mecklenburg County in 2001 and 2005, and one from December 2011 in Wilson County, according to the N.C. Division of Adult Correction.

Faires also has a history of arrest and conviction on traffic charges. She was sentenced to probation in 2003 for driving while license revoked and violating vehicle registration in Lincoln County, state prison system records show.

In June 2011, she again was found guilty of driving while license revoked in Lincoln County.

Closer to home, Faires has four criminal convictions and five dismissed charges in Wilson County.

In March 2005, the district attorney’s office dismissed a felony possession of a stolen motor vehicle charge from November 2003 after it was transferred from district to superior court the previous year, according to court records.

In April 2005, she was found guilty of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and obstruction of justice. The charges were consolidated for judgment and Faires was required to pay $225 in restitution.

In August 2007, Wilson County prosecutors dismissed hit-and-run failure to stop with property damage and driving while license revoked charges against Faires. A charge of driving with an expired registration card or tag was downgraded to a lesser offense for which Faires was convicted, court records state.

Prosecutors also dismissed driving while license revoked and improper backing charges in December 2011.

 

HABITUAL CHARGE A RARITY

Authorities see first-time drunken drivers and repeat DWI offenders alike, but Trooper R.E. Westbrook of the N.C. Highway Patrol said Wilson County sees relatively few habitual impaired driving charges.

"We catch them here and there, but we usually don’t have it on a daily basis,” Westbrook said. "I’m not sure how prevalent it is, but it’s not an every-day, every-week occurrence.”

Impaired drivers could see stiffer penalties if their impairment contributed to a crash or if they had especially high blood-alcohol levels. Westbrook said judges take aggravating and mitigating factors into account and often will increase a DWI charge to one of five DWI levels. Level 1 is the most severe.

Motorists convicted of impaired driving face mandatory revocation of their driver’s license for one year on their first conviction and four years when there are two DWI convictions in a three-year period, according to the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles.

Drivers convicted of DWI a third time within five years or a fourth time within seven years face mandatory permanent driver’s license revocation.

Westbrook said Wilson County sees repeat offenders and first-time violators alike.

"We get all kinds,” he said. "You get the ones that are underage and you get the ones we’ve seen over the years who have had several. We arrest them, and sometimes, you remember seeing the same people arrested before.”

 

LEGALLY DRUNK?

The average drunken driver has a blood-alcohol level between .10 and .20, Westbrook said. The highest he’s seen was a driver who registered 0.36 in Greene County in the late 1990s.

Drivers with blood-alcohol levels above .20 are typically heavy drinkers, he said.

"Those are people that probably drink a lot and drink on a usual basis to be able to drink that much and still be able to operate that vehicle,” Westbrook said.

The legal driving limit in North Carolina is .08, but authorities discourage motorists from getting behind the wheel after drinking any alcoholic beverages. State law allows drivers to be charged with DWI when authorities can prove that "the driver’s physical or mental fitness are appreciably impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both.”

Westbrook said drivers who don’t meet the impairment threshold of .08 can still be a danger to themselves and others if they’re on the road after they’ve been drinking.

"You may feel like you’re fine to drive, but it’s hard for you to tell if you’re impaired,” he said. "You may not be falling-down impaired, but it’s going to slow your reaction time.”

 

corey@wilsontimes.com | 265-7821
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View Comments:Show/Hide(17 comments)
@@hope said...

No one says you must hire an attorney. Go on your own.

Friday, February 01, 2013 at 10:43 AM
@Hope said...

It's not just Wilson County. It appears to be a severe problem across Eastern NC. Over crowded courts and court personnel looking a fast way out with little justice. The attorneys are making out like bandits.

Friday, February 01, 2013 at 9:13 AM
everyone said...

They do convict on the first offense. I have a brother that had nothing on his driving record at all, not even a speeding or parking ticket and he couldn't get out of a DWI even though it was just rolling through a checkpoint one afternoon after a round of golf in the summer, blew a .09, convicted. He never repeated it and moved on with life. In this case however, you can't fix stupid. Just like the debate on gun controls, laws don't stop people like this neither do penalties (fairly evident isn't it?). The root cause of this lady is not drinking and driving or the laws yet we discuss it as if it were.

Friday, February 01, 2013 at 8:31 AM
Hope said...

everyone can see where part of the problems lies. If the court system here in
Wilson County would convict people on the orginal charges for a change instead of trying to plea everything. This would send a signal to would be folks who drink and driver, drive while licenses revoked, no insurance, maybe just maybe second thoughts would enter in their brains not to drive.
Wilson County has far to many dismissals and far to many pleas to appease the local attoreny who only fatten their bank accounts.

Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 4:41 PM
HTShopper said...

If I am not mistaken, I saw this same woman at Harris Teeter purchasing two very tall beers at about 1:30 p.m. I wonder if she drove herself to the grocery store. What has to happen before the courts realize that she has a serious illness? Does an innocent person have to fall victim to her repeated driving while impaired? Come on Judges; do what you were elected to do.

Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 10:45 PM
Justice said...

I once served on a jury in Wilson. It was a case where an "upstanding citizen" was appealing his DWI conviction. That's right - he was appealing. He was pulled after crossing the center line on Forest Hills Road not once, but three times. He failed the breathalyzer test and confessed in court that he'd had a drink before getting behind the wheel (at 6 pm), Confessed he had a drink every night after getting home from work. The scariest part of the trial was not just this guy - but his peers on the jury. Most of them actually felt sorry for him! They argued that it's easy to cross the center line on Forest Hills Road. They argued that breathalyzer tests can't be trusted. I was floored! I reminded the other jurors that this case could've been a very tragic one, that there could've been a car coming in the opposite direction. That innocent others might've lost their lives as he repeatedly crossed the center line. He lost his appeal...but to this day, I am astonished by the number of folks who did not take seriously the issue of getting behind the wheel of a killer-machine (when used irresponsibly) after taking a drink. So, yes, let's watch the court system -but let's watch the jury, too.

Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 9:25 PM To No Tolerance said...

Sadly, the woman you mentioned will have to kill before she is locked away for any length of time. The legal system is rotten. Bribes, under-the-table payments, plea deals for sale, that's the real NC court system, not the one taught us in high school civics classes. As I stated earlier, one of these repeat offenders killed my uncle, who had contributed far more to society than 100 of these scum buckets combined ever have. I'm telling you, we need to hold our prosecutors and judges responsible for the deaths these repeat offenders cause. Again, I challenge this newspaper to do its civic and moral duty and follow this case through the court system. Then and only then will the true reliability of our legal system be revealed.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 7:40 PM No tolerance said...

I have no tolerance for irresponible people. Throw away the cell key. A woman ran a red light and hit my son. She had no licenses, they had been suspended for drunk driving. When she hit my son, that was her fourth time caught driving with no licenses. Last I heard, she had been caught 2 more times and she is still out there cruzing around. Wish they would put her away before she kills someone.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 8:05 AM Fed Up said...

Aren't you tired of seeing people like this woman continually "enabled" by our courts, prosecutors and judges. THEY have the power to make our roads safer. Dismissed and downgraded charges have allowed this woman, and those like her, to continue to flaunt the law and put us all in danger. A man with a similar history killed one of my family members a few years ago. And yes, the courts had plenty of chances to put him away. They finally did, but only after he killed my uncle in a head on collision. The man was drunk, stoned and driving while his license was revoked on the wrong side of the road. He was put away for 27 years. Sadly, he's still here but my uncle isn't. I hope the Wilson Times follows this case through so, when it happens, we will all know what local prosecutor and / or what
local judge should be held responsible when this woman is turned loose on our roads again. If they are your neighbors or friends, be sure to thank them for keeping our roads safe.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 9:01 PM Sooo said...

If she has kids, it's their responsibility to help her with her problem? I didn't realize that kids were responsible for their parents actions. They are the ones who suffer when their parents make mistakes though. Especially when the nosey people of Wilson enjoy reading about all this breaking news!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 1:36 PM Regarding humiliation said...

I am sure this unfortunate woman's family is humiliated. However if the fear of causing family humiliation prevents even one drunk from driving, it was worth it.
I am curious "Way to go", if not this, what do you consider newsworthy.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 1:02 PM really? said...

I for one do not care if her family is humiliated. If we would punish these people correctly to begin with these things wouldn't be happening as frequently. You figured after the 2nd time, they would have taken her license away, or maybe the 3rd time, sent her to jail, but no, keep letting these scum bags get away with it. It could have been your mom or dad, or son or daughter getting run over and killed by this idiot.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 12:57 PM RE: Way to go said...

Who cares if her family is humiliated, would you be ok with this story if she had hit and killed someone instead of just putting her own car in the ditch?? She clearly has a problem and does not need to be behind the wheel of a car. Or the next story may very well be she hit and seriously injured someone

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 10:58 AM my opinion said...

she will get a slap on the wrist and bailed out. just like so many others she will do it again and this time she may hurt someone who matters. as for her family being "humiliated"..who cares they should have stepped in a long time ago and done something about her "problem". maybe now they will put her on a leash!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 10:58 AM Way to go said...

Good job, Wilson Times! Always posting such relevant news! I don't know this woman, but I'm sure her family won't be humiliated at all now that everyone knows.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 10:30 AM doustoi said...

The woman has demonstrated that she values only her ability to drink, regardless of her health, safety and the safety of others who share the roads. Regardless of her ability to make good choices (she is apparently unable), the community must act to remove her from behind the wheel of a vehicle. Imprisonment, if that is what is required.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 8:31 AM Julie said...

She needs to serve time!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 7:40 AM
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