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Ellis County, Texas News

Red Oak Man Sentenced to 99 Years for Seventh DWI Conviction, Jury Finds Vehicle Used as Deadly Weapon

Virgil Bryant III

Ellis County and District Attorney Ann Montgomery announced today that Virgil Bryant III, 47, of Red Oak, Texas, has been convicted by a jury of Driving While Intoxicated Third or More. Bryant has been sentenced to 99 years in prison, with his punishment range enhanced to 25 years to life based on his prior felony history. The jury also determined that he used his vehicle as a deadly weapon.

The conviction stems from an incident on July 15, 2022, on Highway 287 E in Midlothian, near the US 67 interchange. A 911 caller reported a white Ford F-150 driving erratically, nearly striking a guard rail and at least three vehicles, running one off the road. Midlothian police officers intercepted the truck, with Bryant as the sole occupant and driver.

Upon conducting a roadside investigation, officers determined that Bryant was intoxicated. His vehicle contained a six-pack of beer, with two missing from the pack. The remaining four were still cold to touch. Alcoholic beverages were spilled in the driver’s side floorboard. Bryant refused standardized field sobriety tests, leading police to obtain a warrant for blood testing. His blood alcohol concentration was 0.245, more than three times the legal limit of 0.08.

Bryant's history includes six prior driving while intoxication convictions over eleven years in four different counties. In 2009, an Ellis County jury sentenced him to forty years for his sixth conviction. Less than three years after being released on parole, Bryant committed this seventh offense.

“As we are regularly reminded, highways are dangerous places. Driving while intoxicated is one of the most preventable crimes, with some of the most serious consequences for our entire community,” said Montgomery. “Even after receiving a forty-year sentence, Bryant continued to put Ellis County citizens at risk by driving while intoxicated. The jury’s strong verdict in this case should serve as a warning sign to anyone who chooses to take that risk in Ellis County.”

Assistant County and District Attorneys Hope Sumrow and Lisa Turner prosecuted the case, assisted by County and District Attorney Investigators Joe Aguilar and Luis Hinojosa. The case was investigated by the Midlothian Police Department.

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