Man convicted of vehicular homicide arrested on drunken driving charges


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ST. CROIX - A 30-year-old man responsible for the death of an infant just five years ago in an alcohol-related crash, was arrested Wednesday after police said he was again driving intoxicated on the same road - again with an unrestrained infant in his car.

Sovive Clarke, 30, of William's Delight appeared before V.I. Superior Court Judge Robert Molloy on Thursday and was advised of his rights on charges of driving while under the influence of an intoxicating liquor and reckless driving.

According to police, Clarke was seen talking to someone at a bus stop near the William's Delight intersection on Queen Mary Highway.

Once Clarke finished his conversation, he sped off, cutting off a vehicle, according to police. He then swerved in and out of the adjacent lane of traffic, having several near-miss collisions with oncoming vehicles, police said.

In the car with Clarke, were an unrestrained 1-year-old child and a pregnant woman, according to the prosecutor.

Once stopped, police said Clarke swayed as he walked toward the officer, his eyes bloodshot and watery and his speech was slurred. He admitted to police that he had been drinking, but said he needed to get his pregnant girlfriend to the hospital.

According to the police report, Clarke failed the field sobriety tests and also blew .215 - almost three times the legal limit - on a breathalyzer test for blood alcohol content.

It was unclear from the police report, or statements in court, if the woman went to the hospital.

Clarke was arrested and bail was set at $1,000. He posted his driver's license in lieu of bail and was released from custody pending his advice of rights hearing.

During the hearing Thursday, Assistant Attorney General Zulema Chapman asked the court to increase Clarke's bail because of his previous arrests and convictions.

She said Clarke was placed on probation in a 2008 vehicular homicide case and later violated that probation by being arrested in 2011 on a domestic violence assault charge.

"He has already had these previous cases and now he is found driving reckless with another infant child not strapped in," Chapman said. "We would ask for the increase and to have him get a third-party custodian." She also asked that Clarke's driving privileges be suspended while the case is pending.

According to police, in November 2008, Clarke was arrested on negligent homicide by means of a motor vehicle, driving under the influence of alcohol and controlled substances and reckless driving in connection with a one-car accident that claimed the life of the 11-day-old baby boy in September of that year.

Clarke, who was 25 at the time, was driving a Nissan Sentra on Queen Mary Highway - a stone's throw away from where he was stopped Wednesday - when he lost control of the vehicle and struck a concrete embankment near Paradise Bottling Co. in Estate Diamond.

The baby and a 21-year-old woman were passengers in the back seat, according to the affidavit.

The child, who was not restrained in a car seat, received severe head trauma and was pronounced dead later that night.

A motorist traveling behind the car said Clarke had run off the road several times before the crash.

Clarke was found guilty and sentenced in December 2010 to five years in prison with all but six months suspended and was placed on probation for the remainder of the time.

A year later, according to court documents, he was arrested after two women told police that Clarke locked them inside an Estate Mon Bijou home and held them against their will.

Clarke was charged with third-degree assault, using a dangerous weapon during the commission of a violent crime, false imprisonment, aggravated assault and battery and disturbance of the peace and was also found guilty in that case.

In May of 2012, he was again sentenced to five years in prison with all but six months suspended and he was placed on probation again, documents state.

While his probation had not previously been revoked, Chapman said this time, the prosecution is prepared to file a motion seeking probation revocation.

Molloy denied the motion to increase the bail and to assign a custodian and said Clarke would be allowed continued release on the $1,000 unsecured bond subject to any revocation motions being filed. Molloy suspended Clarke's driving privileges for 90 days.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email fstokes@dailynews.vi.

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