Officers who pulled over a St. Petersburg man for driving with no headlights early Thursday morning noticed that he showed signs of being intoxicated.
They arrested him on a drunken driving charge. It was the eighth time in the man’s life that he has been arrested on that charge.
Rickey Eugene Carpenter, 65, faces a felony DUI charge in connection with his latest arrest. He also was arrested on a charge of driving with a suspended license — the ninth time he has been arrested on that particular charge.
Records show Carpenter’s three most recent DUI arrests have resulted in convictions that sent him to prison — for three years on a 2014 arrest, and to two-year terms for arrests in 2008 and 2005.
He also has served time in prison for burglary and has a long arrest record in Pinellas County that includes charges of battery.
His most recent arrest occurred in the area of the 6300 block of Ulmerton Road at 12:37 a.m. Thursday. Largo police say in arrest reports that they saw a white Jeep being driven without headlights.
Police and Pinellas sheriff’s deputies tried to make a traffic stop. The driver of the Jeep waited an entire light cycle at an intersection, then drove off and pulled up to a gas pump, reports state.
Law enforcement caught up to the driver and asked for his driver’s license. The driver, later identified as Carpenter, said he didn’t have one because it had been suspended for previous DUIs, reports state.
Officers noted that Carpenter showed signs of impairment: His eyes were bloodshot, he smelled of alcohol, his speech was slurred, and he stumbled and staggered when he got out of the Jeep, reports state.
He declined to participate in field sobriety tests or provide a breath sample, which resulted in an added misdemeanor charge of failing to submit to testing. It’s the fourth time he’s faced that charge, police said in arrest reports.
Carpenter was booked at the Pinellas County Jail. Bail was set at $30,150. Carpenter remained in custody Saturday.
An assistant public defender has been appointed to represent him and has entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.