A Ladysmith man has been charged with his third OWI in Rusk County Circuit Court after a Ladysmith police officer found beer cans and spilled beer inside of his vehicle during a traffic stop.

Orville O. Baker, 48, has been charged with third offense of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence, one count of operating a motor vehicle while revoked and one count of possession of an illegally obtained prescription. If convicted Baker could be sentenced to a maximum of 2.5 years incarceration or $4,500 in fines or both.

According to the criminal complaint, on June 6 at 1:15 a.m. a Ladysmith police officer was notified the driver, Baker, had just passed two officers who were on foot on Miner Avenue, Ladysmith and that Baker had a revoked driver’s license.

The officer located Baker’s vehicle and attempted to follow it, however it was turning sharply throughout downtown Ladysmith. The officer believed Baker was attempting to elude the him despite the fact the officer’s emergency lights had been activated.

Baker’s vehicle was found parked on the curb and grass in front of a residence on W. Eighth Street N. Baker was seen walking away from his vehicle. In speaking with the officer, Baker said he did not stop because he not see the emergency lights and thought they were for someone else. 

A records check of the vehicle’s registration showed it did not belong to Baker or his vehicle, but instead a vehicle registered in Tennessee.

According to the complaint, the officer looked through the open windows and saw beer cans, spilled beer and detected a strong odor of intoxicants coming from the inside of the vehicle. 

When asked, Baker admitted to having drank “two bottle and a beer” that evening and consented to completing field sobriety tests.

Baker allegedly lost his balance, used his arms for balance and put his foot down prematurely.

His vehicle was searched and a black zippered case was found with prescription medication in gem style bags. It was later determined the pills were Buspirone Hydrochloride and available only by prescription. Baker consented to a legal blood draw.

Baker has two previous OWI convictions from August 2000 in Sawyer County Circuit Court and one from July 2018 in Ladysmith City Municipal Court.

Baker is scheduled to appear for an initial appearance hearing in Rusk County Circuit Court on July 13.

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