A ‘habitual’ drunk driver with 36 license suspensions crashed. His wife was killed.

A ‘habitual’ drunk driver with 36 license suspensions crashed. His wife was killed.

By Ben Kesslen, NBC News

An Ohio man with 36 driving suspensions and a dozen charges of operating under the influence has been indicted in the death of his wife in an October car crash.

Robert Lee Ellis, 53, of Columbus, Ohio, was indicted on four charges on Monday, including aggravated vehicular homicide and operating a vehicle under the influence, police announced Wednesday. It is the 13th time he has been charged with operating under the influence.

“While investigating this fatal traffic crash it was very clear to investigators that Mr. Ellis is one of the worst habitual repeat offenders of drunk driving we have seen,” the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “He has no regard for human life.”

On Oct. 16, Ellis was driving around a curve when he struck a utility pole in Prairie Township, about 14 miles west of Columbus. His 51-year-old wife, Dawn Ellis, a passenger, was declared dead at the scene, Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin said in a statement at the time. Neither person in the car was wearing a seat belt.

Authorities later determined that Robert Ellis had been driving with a blood alcohol level of .185, more than twice the legal limit. One of his driving suspensions was still active at the time of the crash.

Dawn Ellis’ daughter, Bobbi Spencer, told NBC Columbus affiliate WCMH that she had feared for her mother’s safety due to Robert Ellis’ alcohol use.

“I’m so happy he’s behind bars so he cannot put anyone else’s family through what he’s put us through,” Spencer said. “But it’s still never gonna take the pain away that he’s caused all of us.”



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