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The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Springfield Man Facing 8th OVI Offense

UPDATE: Jerry Smith was in court today facing his 8th OVI charge and also a charge of driving with a suspended license.  He pleaded not guilty.

As Smith walked out of court we asked him, "Eight OVI's don't you think that's excessive?"
Smith answered:"Not really it's over a lifetime of 28 years."

Smith who is 54, also told us he considers himself a pillar of the community.

If convicted Smith could face 30 months in prison.

***********************************************************
SPRINGFIELD -- Several mugshots, one man with one big problem.

"One OVI is too many," said Bill Pool of Springfield.

Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers have charged a Springfield man with operating a vehicle under the influence, his eighth offense. Jerry L. Smith, 54, was arrested at 9:52 p.m. Monday on Limestone Street at Leffel Lane, Springfield.

"It's frustrating on our part," said Lieutenant Matthew Cleaveland. "We do everything we can to try and remove these drivers from the roadway. Unfortunately you can't physically stop someone from getting behind the wheel."

Police also charged him with driving without a license, having open container of alcohol, and failure to control.

"He was under 31 different suspensions he is not had a drivers license in a while," said Cleaveland.

"When they get into the felony range they can have their vehicle forfeited but that doesn't stop them. they can go borrow a friends car If they want to drive bad enough to drive," said prosecutor Mark Ross.

And Smith was definitely in felony range. We checked Ohio Law. It says if you've had 3 prior convictions within the last 6 years any new conviction is no longer a misdemeanor but a felony, punishable with up to 30 months in prison. But some don't think that's tough enough.

"I think that is terribly laxed and irresponsible," said Pool.

To make matters worse...

"Sometimes those felonies could drop down to a misdemeanor because one of the prior convictions they cannot use for whatever reason or the prior convictions are outside the six-year period," said Ross. "So they can get back out and the cycle starts again."

The cycle that we've also seen with Matthew Jozwiak who had seven and William Newman who doubled him with 14.  Ross says he thinks eventually we will see even harsher punishments, but for now every driver should help keep impaired drivers off the road.

"Some of the best witnesses are those who noticed the impaired driving and were willing to get involved," said Ross.

Smith is scheduled to appear in Clark County Municipal Court at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 15.

Ross says one of the possible solutions would be to look beyond just 6 years, but to look back to 10 or 15 years to encompass a longer driving history.

Click here to see the full OVI law and judge for yourself whether or not the law is to lenient.

Connect with ABC 22/FOX 45 Reporter Wale Aliyu on Facebook and Twitter.

 
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