CONVENT — A 45-year-old Vacherie man has been sentenced to 25 years in state prison after his guilty plea earlier this year to a fourth DWI charge.

Prosecutors accused Jason Hines, 19439 Harry Town Lane, Vacherie, of hitting a vehicle in his truck and driving away while his blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit to drive of 0.08%, prosecutors in St. James Parish said.

Shortly after the hit-and-run crash was reported Dec. 8, 2018, sheriff's deputies spotted Hines pulling into a convenience store parking lot in the red truck described in a crash complaint. Deputies watched him get out of his truck and check his rear bumper, prosecutors with the 23rd Judicial District Attorney's Office said in a statement.

Hines later told deputies at the store that he had had a couple of beers earlier in the day, but deputies also saw an open bottle of liquor in his truck and a Styrofoam cup suspected of holding some of the liquor, prosecutors said. 

Hines, who also smelled of alcohol, performed poorly on a field sobriety test and deputies arrested him, deputies said.

He was unable to do a blood-alcohol breath test at the parish jail in Convent but a blood test later found his blood alcohol content was 0.21%, prosecutors said.

He was later booked on counts of DWI fourth offense, operating a vehicle with a suspended license, hit and run driving with no injury, and possession of alcoholic beverages in a motor vehicle, deputies said.

Hines pleaded guilty to the DWI fourth offense charge on Jan. 8. District Judge Thomas Kliebert Jr. handed down the 25-year sentence Sept. 9.

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