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Man sentenced to life in prison for 9 DWIs

Donald Middleton most recently charged with DWI in 2015

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HOUSTON – By Maria Valero - Staff

A Montgomery County man will spend the rest of his life behind bars after he was convicted for his ninth DWI.

Judge Kathleen Hamilton read Donald Ray Middleton's punishment aloud in court Tuesday.

The DWIs date back to the 1980s and have been consistent through 2013.

  • 1980 - 1st DWI
  • 1997 - Multiple DWIs
  • 2000 - A couple of DWIs (jailed a few times)
  • 2005 - DWI (jailed again for two years)
  • 2008 8th DWI (jailed again for 13 years)
  • 2013 - 9th DWI

Middleton was jailed a couple of times in 2000 and jailed again in 2005 for 2 years. Eight years later, he was jailed and sentenced to 13 years in prison for DWI, according to Assistant District Attorney Justin Fowles.

The latest DWI in 2013 involved a 16-year-old who was going home from work before the crash. Fowles told KPRC 2 that Middleton ran into the nearest gas station after the accident and asked if the people in the store could hide him. Fowles said the surveillance video clearly showed he was intoxicated.

Middleton also tried to evade the police on his sixth DWI.

"He ended up driving in a neighborhood while there were kids out playing. It was daytime, and (he) sped through the neighborhood," Fowles said. Middleton ultimately parked on his lawn to go inside his house and hide from the police.

Fowles said Middleton was once stopped by a deputy and was not able to stand up because he was so intoxicated. The deputies had to help Middleton stand and were not able to perform tests on him.

Fowles told KPRC 2 that Montgomery County had to send a message that this behavior is not tolerated.

"In Montgomery County we take DWIs very seriously and that for these habitual offenders who continue to commit these DWIs over and over again, that it's not OK," he said.

The father of one of the victims, Constable Rowdy Hayden, told KPRC 2 that he was surprised his son suffered no serious injuries given the state of the two cars after the accident.

"I immediately realized that the person who had run into them was intoxicated and then, naturally, anger came across me," he said.

Not all of the DWIs involved accidents and not all of the accidents involved injuries, but Hayden said it was just a matter of time.

"(Middleton) shows time after time that he is not going to be able to function in our society, and it was just a matter of time before his actions killed somebody," he said.

Most of Middleton's offenses were in Harris County, although the latest offense took place in Montgomery County.