Local News

Habitual Drunken Driver Remains Free On Bond

Posted Updated
Switch to classic wral.com
Ezzard Pickett
RALEIGH, N.C. — A man who has faced numerous DWI charges over the years remains a free man for now.

Ezzard Pickett has faced 17 drunken driving charges dating back to the 1980s. In October, Pickett was arrested on Interstate 40 after sideswiping vehicles. He pleaded guilty, but his attorney, James Crouch, said the prosecutor allowed his client time to get his affairs in order before starting a 20-month sentence in April.

"I think about what he could be doing right now, tomorrow, next week and all the time between now and April," said, Ollie Jeffers, representative for Mothers Against Drunk Driving in North Carolina. "Here is someone who's out on the street who has no respect for the law. How do we know he's not going to get out there and continue to drive on and on and injure or kill someone?"

"There's not a whole lot you can do with a habitual offender except put 'em in jail," said Ike Avery, an attorney who served on the Governor's DWI Task Force.

Avery said every time offenders are caught, there is a presumption of innocence and they have a right to a bond. Pickett bonded out in October, but what makes the case different is that Pickett pleaded guilty and was released.

When asked about the potential danger of allowing Pickett to be free, Crouch said his client has been out since October and has not gotten into any trouble. The longest Pickett has ever spent in jail was a year and a half in 2001.