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A 34-year-old Austin man has been sentenced to seven years in prison for his fifth felony drunken-driving conviction.

This is also the fifth time Angus Lee Murray has been imprisoned for intoxicated driving in the past four years.

Sentencing papers filed Wednesday by deputy prosecutor Erin Stroman show that Murray pleaded guilty to the Class B felony, which carries a 20-year maximum sentence, before Pulaski County Circuit Judge Leon Johnson.

Under the plea agreement negotiated by attorney Jonathan Lane, prosecutors dropped aggravated assault and felony fleeing charges.

Murray has at least seven drunken-driving convictions, according to court records. Driving while intoxicated is a misdemeanor, but it is enhanced to a felony for the fourth conviction within five years for drunken driving.

Court records show that Murray was on parole for a felony DWI conviction and free on bond for a May 2018 drunken-driving arrest when Pulaski County sheriff's deputies spotted him about 6:30 a.m. on March 3 of this year, slumped over the wheel of a black Chevrolet Silverado at a gas station.

Deputy Torrey Bradley reported that when he went to check on the pickup driver, he could smell alcohol in the truck and saw an open bottle of Evan Williams whiskey in the seat. Bradley reported that he spent at least five minutes knocking on the truck window and yelling before Murray came to.

Murray started the truck and raced off with officers in pursuit, according to the report. Murray pulled into the driveway of 9822 Firestone Lane in North Little Rock and then into the backyard at 9801 Firestone Lane, where his truck got stuck in the mud.

Bradley and fellow Deputy Christopher Donaldson approached the truck with their weapons drawn, yelling at Murray to get out of the vehicle, but he did not. The officers could not get the truck doors open. Murray tried to drive away again, which the officers said caused the rear of the truck to swing toward them.

The truck missed them, and the officers said Murray drove toward some nearby woods, stopping only after he crashed into a tree.

The deputies said Murray tried to run, but he fell into a hole, where the deputies were able to handcuff him. He tried to resist their efforts to walk him back to the patrol car, according to the report.

The deputies said they had to restrain Murray when he tried to elbow a third deputy who had come to help them. Murray subsequently refused to submit to any testing, the report said.

Murray was free on bond at the time of the arrest after a May 12, 2018, drunken-driving arrest in Austin, where police said they found him behind the wheel of a Ford Explorer, smelling of alcohol and slurring his words, in front of his parents' home at 6802 Arkansas 319 West.

Police had been looking for Murray after his wife called officers to the family home at 206 Ridgeway Road sometime after midnight. She reported that Murray had accosted her when she refused his advances. She told deputies that Murray fled the residence after seeing that she had called for police, and that he had most likely gone to his parents' home.

Murray was sentenced to three years with another two years suspended in that case after pleading guilty in March to his fourth felony DWI. The plea came about a week after the most recent DWI arrest in Pulaski County.

Murray was on parole from his third felony drunken-driving conviction in June 2017. In that case, he wrecked his own vehicle in a lunchtime July 1, 2016, car crash on Joseph Lane, off South Kerr Road, west of Lonoke in Lonoke County, court records show.

Murray reportedly ran from the crash, and South Bend firefighter Tyler King chased him. According to the report, Murray tried to hide behind a tree when Lonoke County sheriff's deputies caught up to him. He surrendered after a deputy pulled out a stun gun.

An intoxicated Murray could not stand without help, court filings show. Seated halfway in the patrol car, Murray reportedly refused repeated commands to move his legs into the car, so deputies said they had to move them for him. He was belligerent with officers and refused a breath test, according to the report.

He was sentenced to two years in prison with another two years suspended after pleading guilty.

His first and second drunken-driving felony convictions came from two arrests less than two months apart in 2015.

He was arrested April 4, 2015, in Sherwood at the intersection of Brice and Barber streets after he was stopped for not wearing a seat belt. He failed field sobriety tests and three breath tests, each showing his blood-alcohol level to be about three times the legal limit of 0.08. A urine test showed marijuana and benzodiazepines, a type of tranquilizer.

He was next arrested in Lonoke County on May 28, 2015. Details of that police encounter were not available, but court records show he also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor fleeing, refusal to submit to chemical test, driving with a suspended license, no insurance and having an obstructed windshield.

Details of his earlier convictions were not available.

Metro on 07/14/2019

Print Headline: Austin man, 34, sentenced after multiple DWIs

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  • tngilmer
    July 14, 2019 at 8:37 a.m.

    He should have gotten the full 20 years. He will be out and driving drunk again within days of his release from prison.

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