COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — An appeals court has exonerated a central Missouri man who was sentenced to prison in 2016 for driving while intoxicated as a “prior and persistent offender.”
The Western District Court of Appeals found Tuesday there was insufficient evidence to connect Richard Wilhite’s intoxication to his operating of a motor vehicle.
Wilhite’s 2016 case was his ninth DWI conviction.
The affidavit says officers arrested Wilhite after strangers spotted him wandering a road near a crashed truck on Aug. 25, 2015. Officers say Wilhite denied being at the scene of the crash or consuming any intoxicants, and refused to provide a blood sample. A blood alcohol test hours later revealed Wilhite was intoxicated.
The court says it overturned the conviction because it’s unclear if Wilhite was intoxicated at the time he was operating the vehicle.
Wilhite’s attorney says the Sturgeon man appreciates the ruling.