FARMINGTON, N.M. (KRQE) – Video shows a man trying to apologize his way out of his 9th DWI arrest in Farmington.
Ronald Smith was arrested at the beginning of March, after crashing into a tree.
State Police Officer: “How you doing?”
Federal Officer: “He was saying he was drunk just now.”
State Policer Officer: “Well, we can see that.”
The officers say he crashed his SUV moments before they arrived.
State Police Officer: “I can smell alcohol on your breath and you just drove into a tree, that’s not a good one-two combination.”
Smith: “It’s not a tree.”
State Police Officer: “Then what is it?”
It was March 2nd, in the middle of the afternoon, in a field in Farmington. As the officer asks Smith to take a field sobriety test, he finally admits they got him.
Smith: “No, I’m already drunk. I’m drunk, you can do whatever.”
It’s not the first time he’s been drunk behind the wheel. State Police say Smith already has eight DWIs. But online court records are spotty. The DWI Resource Center searched its records, and found seven convictions, the latest in 2012 when he served a month in jail. He faced a mandatory minimum year and a half. The DWI Resource Center says it’s possible that prosecutors and judges never checked his full criminal history.
“Whether they have the time or they’ve been trained, that might be a question, but this state has spent millions and millions on record keeping, so slipping through the cracks should not be happening,” said DWI Resource Center Executive Director Linda Atkinson.
Now on his 9th DWI, Smith still thinks he can apologize his way out of more trouble.
Smith: “I’m sorry.”
State Police Officer: “Oh, you don’t have to say sorry to me. You made a mistake, at least nobody one got hurt, right.”
Smith: “Yeah, I’m sorry though, sorry, sorry, sorry.”
On Smith’s license it said his car was supposed to have an ignition interlock but he told the officer he was driving his wife’s car.
It’s unclear why all of Smith’s convictions don’t show up on the New Mexico court records site, but a new law passed by the legislature will establish a centralized criminal database. Currently courts need to search up to six databases to see a suspect’s entire history.