WEST WARWICK— Rhode Island State Police arrested a local man during the weekend for driving under the influence; another charge added to his long list of similar offenses.
According to a press release from Colonel Steven O’Donnell, Superintendent of the R.I. State Police, on June 14 troopers were on patrol at 10:30 p.m. on Cowesett Road in West Warwick when they observed a vehicle run a red light at the intersection of Cowesett and New London Turnpike.
Troopers soon followed the vehicle and noticed that the operator was swerving from lane to lane and failed to use his turn signals.
After stopping the vehicle, troopers approached the driver and saw multiple open beer cans throughout the car. The operator, who was identified as Paul Rocha, 49, of 40 Epworth Ave., West Warwick, was asked to step out of the vehicle and given a field sobriety test, which he failed, according to the State Police.
Rocha was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, refusal to submit to a chemical test, driving on a suspended license and operating a motor vehicle/habitual offender.
The passenger, Timothy Henry, 46, of 115 New Dam Road, West Warwick was also arrested on an outstanding court warrant from the Coventry Police Department.
Police soon realized that Rocha had an extensive criminal background.
According to the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Identification, Rocha has been convicted of operating a motor vehicle on a suspended license 22 times. He served time for fourteen of the offenses, dating back to 1991. He was released from prison in June of 2012 after serving two years for violating a habitual offender statute.
He had also received a previous jail sentence for driving under the influence and two counts of leaving the scene of an accident.
Rocha was transported to the Adult Correctional Institution and is currently being held on $50,000 surety bail.