PHOTO BY ERIC FRANCIS
Mark Mownn, 49, of Ascutney, appears Monday in criminal court in White River Junction to face his 11th drunken driving charge.
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — An Ascutney man arrested on his 11th drunken driving offense this weekend has been charged as a habitual offender which increases the maximum potential penalty he could face upon conviction.
During Monday’s arraignment of Mark Mownn, 49, both the prosecutor and the judge were quick to use the term “theoretically” when referring to the possibility of life behind bars. There was little doubt, however, as to their frustration given that Mownn just recently got out of jail for a DUI 10 conviction, which took place in Rutland County in January and resulted in a four-month sentence.
Mownn’s criminal record stretches back 30 years and includes a heroin bust and two prior felonies in Vermont, four in New York, and five in Connecticut.
Vermont State Police Trooper Nicholas Arlington was finishing up an unrelated traffic stop on Route 131 on Saturday afternoon when Mownn’s long-time girlfriend, Tanya Quintana, walked up to him and reported that Mownn had been drinking heavily and had just taken off with her pickup, Arlington wrote in an affidavit filed with the court.
Although Quintana was reluctant to report the truck as stolen, police began looking for it and located it a couple of hours later outside an apartment building in Springfield, court records stated. Troopers located Mownn inside the apartment of a friend of his who insisted there was no alcohol present and that Mownn had showed up intoxicated, Arlington wrote, adding that Mownn registered a 0.138 blood-alcohol level on a breath test as he was being processed.
During Monday’s arraignment at criminal court in White River Junction, Mownn’s public defender Dan Stevens argued that his client was not a flight risk in large part because of what he described as “a medical issue that occurred two or three years ago which has sort of become the center of his life” for which he receives regular treatment. The state police report said that Mownn told troopers he had suffered a stroke which still makes it difficult for him to speak.
“He sees a doctor regularly. He’s not going anywhere,” Stevens argued but Judge Robert Gerety, pointing to the lack of any responsible adult at the court into whose custody he could release Mownn, ordered him held for lack of $10,000 bail and requested that a psychiatric exam be carried out to determine whether Mownn is competent to stand trial.MORE IN Vermont News
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