Man with 3 prior DUI convictions speaks out after fatal crash in Tampa: 'I wasn't that drunk'

May 13, 2014 

Paul Kent Clark walked, 53, out of the Orient Road jail a free man at around 9 p.m. Monday night on $2,000 bond. BAY NEWS 9 PHOTO

TAMPA -- Paul Kent Clark walked, 53, out of the Orient Road jail a free man at around 9 p.m. Monday night on $2,000 bond.

Police said it was early that morning, around 1:30 a.m., that Clark hit and killed LeRoy Woods, Jr., 40, in a DUI crash at the intersection of north 15th Street and East 26th Avenue.

Records indicate Clark has already had his license suspended a least once and that he has had three previous DUI convictions.

When asked about the incident as he walked out of the jail, Clark said, "I didn't see him. Before I could just stop on a dime, he was already there. He went on to say, “I wasn't that drunk.”

We asked him about the blood sample Tampa police said they took and that indicated his blood alcohol level was above the legal limit.

Clark responded, “I had had a couple drinks. I had had a couple drinks.”

We then asked him if he had anything to say to the family of the man who Tampa police said he hit and killed.

“I'm sorry,” Clark said in a remorseful tone. “I'm really, really sorry because I didn't see him until the last moment."

Police said when they arrived on scene, Clark had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and he reeked of alcohol.

They said he refused to take the field sobriety exercises and he wouldn’t take a breathalyzer test or give them a blood sample.

Officials would later take a blood sample.

As for the victim, they are left with just memories.

"He was a sweet boy,” recalls his younger sister, Stefanie Burston. “He was a sweet boy."

Woods, Jr. was the baby of the family. They called him “Boo Boo.”

"He was the life of the party,” said Burston. “Anything we have anything, we knew he was going to make us laugh."

But that laughter has now turned to grief and anger.

How could a man who already has three DUI’s still be driving and then allegedly drive drunk a fourth time?

"For him to hit him and even just go out there on the road and not even think about it because the first thing that goes when you drink is your judgment," said Quadeline Myers, the victim’s oldest sister.

And then there’s the question of Clark’s bond. The family demanded to know how Clark could be released on $2,000 bond.

"Basically a pat on the wrist saying it's okay for you to drive around with alcohol," said Myers.

The family said it has lost its faith in the system but they say they will make sure Clark is brought to justice.

When asked how could this happen, Myers said, “That's the way the system is. The justice system is… The system is wrong."

And as he prepared to call his wife to come pick him up from jail, we asked Paul Clark that since he’s had three DUI convictions before if he thought he may have a problem.

He told us, “I probably need to, uh, go and get some help."

Investigators say if Clark is found guilty of DUI, then the judge will take his three previous DUI convictions into consideration when determining his sentence.

And if that's the case, they say, he will most likely face jail time.

As for the victim’s family, they said they don’t ever want to see him on the road ever again.

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