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story.lead_photo.caption Gilbert Baker of Conway - Photo by Faulkner County sheriff's office

Former state Sen. Gilbert Baker on Tuesday changed his plea to guilty on two charges including driving while intoxicated stemming from an August traffic stop in Faulkner County, court records show.

Baker, 60, also pleaded guilty this week to refusal to take a breath test, according to filings in Faulkner County Circuit Court. A charge of driving left of center was dropped.

Sentencing information shows he was ordered to serve 24 hours in jail within the next 30 days.

Baker was pulled over Aug. 26 after an off-duty Conway police officer in a personal vehicle saw a dark colored vehicle "driving erratically in the inside lane" on Interstate 40, police reported. The vehicle continued to swerve as it exited the highway onto Dave Ward Drive and traveled west in Conway, authorities said.

The officer noted in a report that Baker nearly hit a concrete barrier before a marked patrol unit stopped him in his gray 2016 Toyota Corolla about 1 mile away from his house near Salem Road. He was arrested after police conducted a variety of field sobriety tests.

Baker initially told officers that he had not been drinking before telling one officer that he had had one unspecified drink. In a phone interview Aug. 30 with Arkansas Online, he said he had one or two margaritas at a Little Rock restaurant the night of his arrest.

Authorities said Baker acted "verbally belligerent and emotional" as he was booked at the Conway Police Department. Baker previously told Arkansas Online that he had "no excuses" for the way he behaved toward police officers after his arrest.

In a statement Tuesday afternoon from the office of attorney Frank Shaw, Baker said he made "two serious mistakes" that day: Being disrespectful to several Conway police officers and driving home from Little Rock after drinking that evening.

"These officers were simply doing their jobs, and I sincerely regret making their jobs more difficult. I was wrong," Baker said.

The Conway Republican, who served in the state Senate from 2001 to 2013, is currently a music professor at the University of Central Arkansas.

A university spokesman said UCA had no comment Tuesday.

Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.


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  • mrcharles
    September 27, 2016 at 12:30 p.m.

    First step to redemption is to admit the sin.

    While perhaps the evidence persuaded him to become a man and step up to the plate, there is no need to go into his past stands as perhaps being hypocritical. Now let the healing begin.

    Let me see, alcohol= belligerent. mary jane [a harmful chemical unlike alcohol] = munchies = get over it you over regulators. Surely this is reason comrades, brothers and sisters, friends and romans, for a little perspective on this issue.

  • LR1955
    September 28, 2016 at 4:14 p.m.

    NEWS FLASH: Former state senator tested positive for meth after drunken-driving arrest. That's a big uh oh !