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Manatee woman, 70, faces 7th DUI charge

MANATEE — A 70-year-old Bradenton woman has been arrested on a DUI charge for the seventh time since 1971 after deputies found her passed out in a car outside DeSoto Square mall.

Manatee County Sheriff’s Office reports say the arriving deputy had to wake up Carol Jean May, who smelled of alcohol and could not stand on her own.

A records check by the deputy showed May had six prior drunken driving arrests and five DUI convictions. A judge in 2002 suspended for life her driver’s license.

Just before 11 p.m. Wednesday, deputies received a call that a car had run over some bushes at the mall, in the 300 block of U.S. 301 Boulevard, across the street from sheriff’s headquarters.

The deputy found May’s car “straddling some shrubbery, completely off the pavement,” the sheriff’s report said. She told the deputy she had been at the Dolphin Lounge and when asked how much she had to drink, she said “too much.”

May was taken to the Manatee County jail, where she could not perform a breath test, and she told deputies “it didn’t matter because her license was already suspended for life.” Deputies also could not read May her rights because “she could hardly sit upright in the chair,” sheriff’s reports said.

A judge Thursday ordered May held on $80,000 bond.

Court records show May has been arrested on DUI charges six other times, in 1971, 1973, 1976, 1978, twice in 1998 and in 2002. In 1998, May served 30 days in jail for DUI and was fined $2,270.

Then in 2002, reports say she crashed into another car at 49th Avenue Drive West and U.S. 41. A jury found her guilty of DUI and driving with a suspended license.

In tears, she told a Florida Highway Patrol trooper that she only drove because her “old man was too drunk too drive,” FHP reports state.

After the jury found her guilty, a judge sentenced May to 11 months and 29 days in jail and suspended her license for life.

May is the second woman to be arrested in Manatee in less than a year with an extensive prior record of DUI arrests. In August 2008, sheriff’s deputies arrested Janet Landrum, 42, on a DUI charge and a sheriff’s record check showed the arrest to be her 10th DUI arrest in Florida and other states, according to sheriff’s reports.

Deputies pulled her over after a deputy said he saw her vehicle swerving in the 2600 block of Cortez Road. She has pleaded not guilty and is set to go on trial in October, according to court records.