by admin ·
From Tampa Bay Online
TAMPA –James Vernon Smith Jr. says he’s not your typical drunk.
And typical he is not.
The 48-year-old former underwater welder who lives in Louisiana but has family in the Tampa area was handed his 10th drunken-driving conviction Thursday in Hillsborough Circuit Court.
He was sentenced to 10 years in prison despite an emotional plea by Smith, the father of two young daughters. He said he was ashamed and sorry for his actions, and he cried and paused often while reading a handwritten letter in court.
“I have often been handed the keys to the kingdom,” he told Circuit Judge Kimberly Fernandez, “only to have left them on the bar somewhere.”
Smith was arrested in August 2011 and charged with driving under the influence for the 10th time. He also was charged with driving with a permanently revoked driver’s license. He was released on bail and within a couple of weeks had been arrested on his 11th DUI charge. That case is scheduled for court next month. ….MORE