Parker County prosecutors hope that anyone tempted to drink and drive will think about where Steven Dewayne Knight will be spending the holidays this year, and for years to come.
A Parker County jury sentenced Knight on Wednesday to life in prison -- and then some -- after convicting him of driving drunk for the sixth time.
Knight, 45, of Poolville, was on parole on a drunken-driving conviction in Tarrant County when a sharp-eyed restaurant owner in Springtown alerted police that Knight appeared to be intoxicated when he left her restaurant about noon on Mother's Day this year, according to Parker County Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain.
Springtown police stopped him just a few minutes later and obtained a blood test, which determined that his blood-alcohol level was 0.32 -- four times the legal limit of 0.08, Swain said.
Swain, who tried the case with Assistant District Attorney Kathleen Catania, said the hefty sentence should send a message to holiday revelers who may be tempted to get behind the wheel after drinking.
"Law enforcement is always working extra hard during the holidays to prevent drunk-driving fatalities or accidents," he said. "If we can prevent, through a significant DWI sentence, one person from driving drunk or one person from getting hurt, it really makes the time and effort worth it."
Swain said Knight didn't hurt anyone because the restaurant owner was quick to call 911. She said Knight came into the restaurant for lunch -- and didn't drink anything intoxicating -- before stumbling out to his vehicle.
"This lady kept an eye out for her community," Swain said.
Knight was on parole on a 25-year sentence after being convicted as a repeat drunken driver in 1999.
He also had several misdemeanor arrests and an aggravated assault conviction in 1994 in Tarrant County, in addition to a drunken-driving conviction in Johnson County and two hot-check convictions in Parker County.
Swain said the arresting officer said that on the way to a hospital for the blood draw, Knight was vulgar and threatened the officer's family. He urinated on himself twice while in custody.
"This defendant was extremely intoxicated," Catania said, according to a written statement. "When he urinated on himself, he didn't even seem to notice."
After a jury sentenced Knight to life in prison, state District Judge Trey Loftin stacked it on top of the years he will serve once his parole is revoked.
Knight will be required to serve his 25-year sentence, then at least 15 years of the life sentence before becoming eligible for parole again.
Knight's aunt had urged the jury to be lenient and consider giving him a chance at rehabilitation once he is released on parole. The aunt said that she saw him at 10:30 that morning when he brought her flowers, and that he did not appear to be intoxicated.
Dianna Hunt, 817-390-7084