Montgomery County judge gives man life sentence after ninth DWI conviction

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A Montgomery County judge has sentenced a man to life in prison after he was found guilty of drinking and driving a ninth time.

Donald Middleton was arrested May 30, 2015 on a DWI charge. It was his ninth since 1980.

Authorities say Middleton was trying to turn at a stop sign but didn't stay in his lane and struck another vehicle nearly head-on. After the wreck, he ran to a nearby convenience store and begged the clerk to hide him.

"He tried to flee, get away. He called some friends to come pick him up, and you could see that he was clearly intoxicated in the surveillance video at the gas station," Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Justin Fowles said.

Fowles tells us Middleton pled guilty last month, on the day he was set to begin his trial. After three days of punishment testimony, Judge Kathleen Hamilton sentenced him to life in prison.

The 16-year old he hit was Montgomery County Precinct Four Constable Rowdy Haden's son.

"As a father, you can imagine the outrage I had knowing this person should be in prison when they're out here traveling on our roads, running into a child and luckily not killing this child," Constable Haden says.

Court documents show Middleton has been sentenced to prison for DWI before.

"He's been to the penitentiary four separate times before he committed this last one. The ninth DWI that we sought life," Fowles says.

Fowles says they pushed for the maximum punishment and were pleased with the life sentence.

"To me there was no question that we needed to do everything that we could to ensure he wouldn't be on the roads driving with our friends, our families, our kids on the road putting everyone at risk," he said.

"For a habitual offender like this, he's proven that he cannot be rehabilitated. And he should spend the rest of his life in prison," Hayden adds.

Perhaps the most unbelievable part of this is that after eight DWI convictions, Middleton still had a valid driver's license when he was arrested for number nine.
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