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Pinellas County man arrested on drunken driving charge for 9th time

His DUI arrests date back to 1988 and have resulted in escalating punishment, including prison time.

A 61-year-old Largo man was arrested earlier this month on his ninth charge of driving while impaired, records show.

Gary Joe Haney was arrested June 20 after a motorist called 911 to report a suspected drunk driver behind the wheel of a blue Ford truck. The motorist followed the driver until police pulled the blue truck over along the 10600 block of 113th Street N, according to the arrest reports.

Officers said they found Haney behind the wheel. They noted in the reports that Haney showed signs of impairment. He smelled of alcohol, mumbled and had bloodshot and watery eyes. He refused to take field sobriety test, give a blood sample or take a Breathalyzer exam, the reports state.

Haney was arrested and booked into the Pinellas County jail. He faces charges of committing his ninth driving under the influence offense, driving with a license suspended or revoked (with at least six prior offenses) and refusal to submit to testing (at least five prior offenses), according to jail records.

Related: St. Pete man stopped for driving with no headlights. It’s his 8th DUI.

He is being held in lieu of $11,400 bail. A judge ordered that, if he posts bail and is freed, he must be outfitted with an electronic monitoring device.

His drunken driving arrests date back to 1988 and have resulted in an increased punishment every time. Each arrest occurred in Pinellas County, court records show.

He was fined and ordered to get treatment after the first arrest. A year later he was arrested again and got 90 days in jail. His third DUI wasn’t until 10 years later in 1999. He was sentenced to a year in jail.

An arrest in 2006 resulted in a sentence of 14 months in state prison. Another arrest in 2008 got him just under 26 months in prison. A 2012 arrest brought him a 32-month sentence.

He pleaded guilty or no contest each time. He violated his probation on several cases.

His latest arrest prior to this month was in September. He is accused of sideswiping a car and hitting a concrete power pole. He was arrested on a DUI charge in that case but prosecutors dismissed it.

But records show he still awaits trial on these charges: reckless driving with property damage or injury, leaving the scene of a crash involving property, felony driving with a license suspended or revoked, refusal to submit to testing, attaching an unauthorized tag and driving with a tag not assigned to the vehicle.

Haney is being represented by an assistant public defender, who entered a plea of not guilty to all the pending charges.

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