Man who skipped half his DWI trial gets 20 years

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A man who never returned after lunch during his trial in Bowie County for felony drunk driving Wednesday received a 20-year sentence from a jury.

Eric Darnell Jemison Jr., 32, is now a wanted man. Jemison was in court for opening arguments and some witness testimony Wednesday morning but never came back after 202nd District Judge John Tidwell recessed the proceedings for a lunch break.

The trial continued and the jury assessed Jemison, a repeat DWI offender, a maximum 20-year prison term. Jemison was eligible for the enhanced punishment because of prior convictions. According to court officials, Jemison has ties to the Dallas area and to the state of Michigan, where he has a prior drunk driving conviction.

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Jemison was arrested June 4, 2016, after running his car into the median on Interstate 30 near the 201 mile marker, according to a probable cause affidadvit. The car’s tire was flat and had damage to the right quarter panel. Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Monte Whisenhunt noticed a strong odor of alcohol coming from Jemison and administered a portable breath test which showed a blood alcohol level of .081. Drivers are considered under the influence and illegal to drive at a .08 level.

Anyone with information concerning Jemison’s whereabouts is asked to contact police. Tidwell issued a warrant for Jemison following Wednesday’s trial and he is considered a fugitive.

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