The person who trains Tennessee DUI prosecutors said he was “frustrated” and “angry” after learning that a Nashville man faces his 9th DUI conviction–this time for a drunk driving arrest apparently moments after dropping a child off at a Metro School.
Police records indicate that Anthony McGowan, 58, was pulling out of the Household Pawn parking lot in the 800 block of Dickerson Road when he was pulled over for a tag violation.
An affidavit from an officer indicates McGowan admitted to having several drinks in the morning before saying he had just dropped a child at the Baxter Alternative Learning Center–a school for special needs kids.
After running a background check, the officer discovered McGowan had eight previous DUI charges dating back to 1989.
Results of McGowan's blood tests are pending.
Tom Kimball, who runs DUI prosecutors program for the District Attorneys General Conference, called McGowan is “a habitual offender who has no regard for the law or others.”
“Its really aggravating when you see these cases,” he added shaking his head.
Metro Criminal Court and Tennessee Department of Correction records indicate that McGowan has also been arrested now twelve times since 1989 on DUI and served several years in prison following the eight DUI convictions.
“We can lock them up for awhile, then we have to monitor them for a while, then we have got to get them with professionals to deal with the drug and alcohol abuse issues,” said Kimball who cautioned that will cost the state more money to do all of those things for habitual offenders like McGowan.
At McGowan's Nashville home Wednesday, a woman who identified herself as the DUI suspect's wife Nancy Love, said it was her car that he drove Tuesday.
Love told News 2 she “had no idea” whose child it was or why McGowan would have been driving the youngster to school.
On Tennessee's Capitol Hill, former Sumner County DUI prosecutor and freshman Rep. William Lamberth echoed the frustration about habitual offenders like McGowan.
“This is reprehensible,” he told News 2.
He said the General Assembly is trying to tighten up DUI laws with bills about more offenders using interlock alcohol-detecting devices and tougher penalties, but thinks lawmakers should start thinking about funding more monitoring and treatment for repeat drunk drivers.
“What is not thought about many times is the absolute devasting effects this has on families and their financial situation, and how much they have become a burden to the state when their loved one is killed by a drunk driver,” said Rep. Lamberth who said his own family was touched by DUI when his aunt was struck and killed by a repeat offender.
Lawmakers though, have no bills this session that would deal with more money for things like more monitoring and treatment of offenders.
Kimball, of the District Attorneys General Conference hopes it will be on the agenda for next year.
The public has got to want to do this, its a big cost,” cautioned Kimball.
Anthony McGowan was charged Tuesday with DUI and being a habitual offender.
He is being held in the Metro jail on a $70,000 bond and faces a Monday court date.