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FARMINGTON – A 54-year-old Bloomfield man facing his ninth drunken driving offense waived his right Wednesday to a preliminary examination hearing.

Ronald Smith was arrested the afternoon of March 2 after he pulled his vehicle onto a dirt road off N.M. Highway 371 and crawled underneath a tree, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

A New Mexico State Police officer was dispatched to the scene. He noted Smith smelled like alcohol, and he appeared unable to maintain his balance, the affidavit states. The officer asked Smith to perform a field sobriety test, but he refused, according to the affidavit.

"No, I'm already drunk," Smith allegedly told the patrolman.

Smith was placed under arrest and transported to the San Juan Regional Medical Center to have his blood drawn, the affidavit states.

His vehicle was not equipped with an ignition interlock device, despite a court requirement he use such a device.

His attorney, Laurah Bernard, did not respond Wednesday to a request for comment.

Smith has been convicted of eight driving while intoxicated offenses, dating back to 1987, according to court records.

He was being held at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center on a $70,000 bond, records state. An arraignment date has not been set.

Smith was the sixth person charged this year in Farmington Magistrate Court with a seventh or subsequent DWI, a third-degree felony. Two more men — Filbert Serafin, 43, and Derrick Smith, 31 — were charged this week with the same offense.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644. 

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