A Baton Rouge man who drove away from a Hooper Road convenience store in 2012 with a gasoline nozzle and hose dangling from his vehicle racked up his fifth DWI conviction Wednesday.
Charles William Landrum, 50, now faces a term of 10 to 30 years in prison when state District Judge Mike Erwin sentences him March 16.
An East Baton Rouge Parish jury of seven women and five men deliberated less than 30 minutes before unanimously finding Landrum guilty.
Prosecutor Michelle Lacoste had told the jury he is someone “who has endangered our streets again and again and again.”
“This is serious,” she added. “DWIs affect everyone.”
Landrum had two prior DWI convictions in 1999 in Slidell, one in 2000 in St. Tammany Parish and another in 2007 in Caddo Parish.
He was still on probation for the 2007 conviction when he was arrested July 13, 2012, for DWI in East Baton Rouge Parish.
His blood-alcohol level was 0.124 percent about two hours after he was arrested. A reading of 0.08 percent is considered presumptive evidence of drunken driving in Louisiana.
Landrum testified Tuesday against the advice of his court-appointed attorney, Susan Hebert, that he had consumed several beers after work that day, then ate and went to sleep before leaving his Hooper Road house about 11:30 p.m. and driving to the Circle K at 13435 Hooper Road to buy gas and use an ATM there.
Landrum said he put the gas nozzle in the tank of his Jeep Cherokee without turning the pump on and went inside the store to use the ATM. He was unable to make a withdrawal, so he left — forgetting that the gas pump was still attached to his car — and drove to a nearby Chase Bank on Sullivan Road to use an ATM there.
It was there that an officer questioned him about the gas nozzle and hose hanging from his vehicle. Landrum fled on foot but was caught a short distance later.
Landrum testified that, while in the bank parking lot, he took a couple “swigs” of liquor from a bottle he had with him. He told the jury the beers he consumed earlier had worn off, and he didn’t drive after drinking the liquor at the bank.
“I drove somewhere. I parked. I drank. I drank after that vehicle was parked,” he said. “I should have stayed at the house, but I wasn’t drinking and driving. I wasn’t intoxicated at the time. I was just stupid” for leaving the Circle K with the gas nozzle and hose attached to the vehicle.
Lacoste told the jury Wednesday she didn’t buy what she called Landrum’s “party of one” story of drinking in the bank parking lot. A police officer testified he did not find a liquor bottle in the Cherokee.
Lacoste noted that a store clerk testified she refused to sell Landrum alcohol because he displayed classic signs of intoxication.
Landrum has remained in custody since his July 2012 arrest.