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Repeat drunk driver gets to plea to first offense
Gipson give 48 hours
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A repeat drunk driver who crossed the center line and hit an oncoming motorist head on will serve 48 hours in jail and be allowed to enter DUI Court.
The driver, Sterling Gipson, entered guilty pleas before General Sessions Judge Bill Locke to charges of DUI, driving on a revoked license, and misdemeanor reckless endangerment. He was ordered to serve 48 hours of an 11-month, 29-day sentence, pay $1,350 plus court costs, perform 24 hours public service work, attend DUI class, and lose his driver license for one year.
According to Highway Patrolman Bruce Pryor, Gipson was arrested for a wreck he caused when he strayed across the center line on Nashville Highway.
“His vehicle traveled across the double yellow lines, striking a 2001 Nissan Maxima head on,” Pryor said. “The crash injured three people who were transported to River Park Hospital.”
Pryor said he had blood drawn on the drunk driver and found he tested positive for Lidocaine (an anesthetic), Dihydrocodeinone (pain killer), Diazapam, Nordiazepam and Tamazapam (the last three are anxiety medications).
The officer also found Gipson’s license had been revoked for an earlier DUI he picked up in Davidson County in 2012.
As part of his sentence Gipson will have to participate in and complete Drug and DUI Court. According to District Attorney General Lisa Zavogiannis, his participation in the DUI Court is why he was allowed to plea to first-offense DUI instead of second offense.
“There has to be an incentive to get better,” Zavogiannis said of allowing him to plea to the lesser charge. A plea to second-offense DUI typically requires 45 days in jail.
While allowed to plea to the lesser count, Zavogiannis said should he be charged with another DUI offense it would be a third.
“It doesn’t just go away,” Zavogiannis said, noting a drunk driving conviction stays on a person’s record for 10 years.