Local News

Driver has had 10 DWI charges in 17 years

Posted July 3, 2008 8:13 p.m. EDT
Updated July 4, 2008 5:28 a.m. EDT

— A Louisburg man charged earlier this week with DWI had been arrested nine other times for the same offense in the past 17 years, according to court records.

Larry Charles Alley, 35, was convicted on four of the charges; the court voluntarily dismissed several others.

In his most recent DWI arrest, Alley registered a 0.10 on a blood alcohol breath test when police in Wilson Mills stopped him Monday night. He was released shortly thereafter under a $3,500 bond.

A search of Alley's criminal history found that in the past 17 years, he was arrested four times in Wake County, two each in Franklin and Johnston counties and one time each in Halifax and New Hanover counties.

He has also been charged dozens of times for driving with a revoked license, according to court records. A number of those charges were also dismissed.

"It's not surprising at all," said North Carolina Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Everett Clendenin.

Some local law enforcement officers say the court system does not take DWI charges seriously enough until there is a tragedy

"Our job as state troopers is to take that threat off the highway and then leave it up to the judicial system to process accordingly," Clendenin said.

Lisa Vogel says she strongly believes the system is a wreck. Three years ago, her 21-year-old son was killed by a drunken driver.

"He had a previous DWI. It was dismissed," Vogel said. "He had numerous speeding tickets. He had possession of alcohol while underage. His driving record was bad..

But with each charge, she says, the driver responsible for her son's death got nothing more than what she calls a slap on the wrist.

"The system is enabling them to go out and drive again," Vogel said.

Officers familiar with Alley's record say they believe that in his case, it is not a matter of it, but when that tragedy will happen.

WRAL News has learned that Alley has 16 unserved warrants in Wake County tied to his previous arrests. His most recent DWI arrest was in Johnston County.

Authorities there say they are looking to indict him as a habitual DWI offender, which is a felony.

Local prosecutors in Wake, Johnston and Franklin counties could not be reached Thursday for comment.