Man faces 16th DUI rap

Friday, August 25th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- A Tulsa man is in the Tulsa Jail facing a familiar charge -- driving under the influence of alcohol.

Elmer Ossie Gay, 71, was charged Wednesday with felony DUI. It marked at least the 16th time he has been charged with offenses stemming from driving and alcohol.

Assistant District Attorney Caleb Raynolds, who specializes in traffic cases, indicated Thursday that he has never seen another defendant with as many drinking-and-driving convictions as Gay.

Records filed by prosecutors over the years establish that since September 1976, Gay has been convicted in Tulsa County of eight felony and seven misdemeanor offenses -- including driving under the influence of alcohol, driving while impaired and having actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence.

At a December 1992 trial, a jury handed Gay the maximum available punishment -- five years in prison and a $2,500 fine -- for a felony DUI.

Gay was paroled from prison in July 1993, a Department of Corrections spokesman said. Raynolds said he has no record of any drinking-and-driving convictions for Gay since that case, although Gay did receive a one-year probation in 1994 for driving with a revoked license.

In another case, then-Special Judge Bill Musseman said a felony DUI charge was reduced to a misdemeanor in January 1992 in order to punish Gay more severely. Musseman said at that time that if Gay had been sentenced to the maximum five-year prison term, he would have been freed in 90 days. Gay received a six-month jail term after the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor DUI and wound up serving almost 51/2-months in the Tulsa Jail.

After his release in that case, Gay was re-arrested two months later in the case that resulted in his most recent DUI conviction.

Under present law, Gay could face a maximum of 10 years in prison if convicted of another felony DUI, Raynolds said.

Gay was arrested about 9:30 p.m. a week ago after a police officer said he saw a car swerve across a double yellow line, reports show.

A breath test indicated that Gay's blood-alcohol content was 0.15 percent, beyond the 0.1 percent limit that by law constitutes driving under the influence of alcohol, reports show.

In court Thursday, Special Judge Todd Singer increased Gay's bond from $2,500 to $50,000 on the felony DUI count. A status conference is set Sept. 8.