Suspended-for-life driver gets arrested for sixth DUI

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION - A Chester man whose driver’s license was already suspended for life due to five previous DUI convictions has been charged with drunk driving for the sixth time.

    Harold Buker, 52, pleaded innocent to a felony count of drunk driving this week and he was released from the courthouse on a series of pre-trial conditions, including a requirement that he make contact with a licensed alcohol counselor while he is awaiting trial.

    Springfield Police Officer Steven Neily Sr. wrote that on the night of March 21st he noticed a black pickup truck take a corner near the Union Street School so widely that it went completely into the opposite lane.

    Officer Neily said that, after he pulled the truck over, he walked up to speak to Buker, whom the officer said had bloodshot watery eyes as he handed over a non-driver ID.

    “I also observed an empty 12-ounce can of Natural Ice beer on the floor by  the shifting lever and an unopened 12-pack of Natural Ice beer on the seat between Buker and (his passenger),” Neily continued in the affidavit which was filed with the court.

    Buker claimed to be driving the truck back to Chester himself in an effort to avoid a towing fee because he planned to sell it, Officer Neily noted.

    After performing field sobriety tests, Buker was arrested and taken to the Springfield police station where Neily wrote that Buker blew a 0.168 percent blood alcohol level on an evidentiary breath test, a number which would be more than twice Vermont’s legal limit for driving.

    Neily noted in his police report that, on six previous occasions over the past 20 years, Buker has also been convicted of driving despite having had his license criminally suspended.

    Buker faces a minimum penalty of at least 8 consecutive days in jail and a potential maximum of up to 10 years if he were to be convicted of the felony drunk driving charge now pending against him.

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