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FORMER STATE SENATOR GILBERT BAKER ARRESTED FOR DWI - BAKER WAS VOCAL OPPONENT OF CONWAY RESTURANTS OBTAINING PERMITS FROM ABC TO SELL ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES

GILBERT RAY BAKER, UCA ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF MUSIC, FORMER STATE SENATOR

Former state Senator Gilbert Baker (59) and future federal inmate was arrested by Conway police at 4:25 a.m. Saturday August 27th.

Baker was charged with violation of the Omnibus DWI Act, refusal of a blood alcohol test, and driving left of the center lane.

Gilbert Baker is a former member of the Arkansas State Senate from District 30. He served in the Arkansas Senate from 2001 to 2013.

In 2010, Baker was an unsuccessful candidate for the United States Senate seat formerly held by the Democrat Blanche Lincoln.

Baker resigned from his position as a lobbyist for UCA after being involved with funneling funds to Judge Mike Maggio through PACs.
 

Baker is currently employed as an Assistant Professor of Music at UCA.

 

Baker was strongly against the ABC issuing permits to Conway restaurants to serve alcoholic beverages. This was probably due to county line liquor stores in neighboring counties paying Baker for his opposition to such permits.

In a 2003 interview with the Log Cabin Democrat, then-Sen. Baker said he was opposed to having more alcohol options in the city.

“I am personally opposed to additional alcohol in Conway, but I do support the opportunity for people to vote on important issues,” he said at the time.

In 2009, Baker supported a bill that raised the alcohol permit fees and provided the Alcohol Beverage Control division (ABC) a $1.2 million increase.

“I think it was a good bill. I did support the bill,” Baker told the Log Cabin Democrat in February 2009. “The primary initiative was that the ABC Board needed more resources for enforcement and regulation. They increased the permits generally to provide those resources, so I supported that. I did support the annual fee for private clubs and supported an additional one-time fee for private clubs in dry counties.”


Faulkner County is a "dry" county and restaurants in Conway are only able to serve alcoholic beverages after they obtain a private club permit from the ABC. 

We wonder why tainted ABC Enforcement Director Boyce Hamlet has not conducted sweeps in Conway as there are two colleges and one university located there and underage drinking and possession of alcoholic beverages is an issue in that city.

 **UPDATE**

According to the incident report about Gilbert Baker, Conway police officers described former state Sen. Gilbert Baker as “verbally belligerent and emotional” when he was taken to the department’s booking area after his arrest on suspicion of driving while intoxicated Friday, according to the department’s incident report.

In the report, officer Heath Edens said Baker was talking loudly and saying he needed water every 35 minutes because of a doctor’s order. Edens said Baker’s “behavior was confrontational and he had a poor attitude.”
 
HEATH EDENS

Baker was taken to Conway Regional Medical Center where a lab assistant drew three tubes of blood from Baker. The blood samples were sent to the state Crime Lab for testing to determine Baker’s blood-alcohol content.
The report also detailed the events leading up to Baker being pulled over.
Officer Tim Woods, who was off duty and driving in his personal vehicle, saw a dark colored car “driving erratically in the inside lane,” the report said. Woods wrote that the car crossed over the lane and the rumble strip with inconsistent speed.
 
Woods drove behind the car as it exited onto Dave Ward Drive. He noted in the report that Baker's vehicle almost hit a concrete barrier. A marked patrol unit pulled Baker over near Salem Road a little after 8:15 p.m.
 
Officer Andrew Foreman, one of the officers who stopped Baker, wrote in the report that Baker’s gray 2016 Toyota Corolla swerved several times and straddled the lane line on Dave Ward Drive for at least 150 feet.
 
Foreman conducted a variety of sobriety tests before arresting Baker on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, the report said.
 
Baker was also charged with refusing a breathalyzer test and driving left of center. He was booked into the Faulkner County jail at 4:25 a.m. Saturday and released at 11:45 a.m. on $1,395 bond.

Let's hope that the blood sample was taken closer to 8:15 p.m. when Baker was arrested and not 4:25 a.m. when he was booked into the jail.

************

Here's a link to the full Conway Police incident report courtesy of the Arkansas Times.  GILBERT BAKER INCIDENT REPORT

*UPDATE* 

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette interviewed Baker and he told them he only had one or two margaritas at a Little Rock restaurant (was it the 1836 Club???) and he thought he had passed the field sobriety test and was "frustrated" by his arrest. Without regard to where he got his drink on, the ABC should look into them for over-serving him and letting him leave their establishment and get behind the wheel and drive from Little Rock to Conway putting who knows how many people at risk.

Take the time to read the incident report.  Baker was a loud, obnoxious, stumbling drunk that failed each field sobriety test given to him.

     

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