A Parker County grand jury convicted Toby Wayne Zimmerman, 59, of Weatherford, for his eighth driving while intoxicated charge and sentenced him to life in prison in a trial that concluded this week.
Zimmerman, who was on parole at the time of his Dec. 29, 2018 arrest, was sentenced as a habitual offender, according to a release from the district attorney’s office. In 2011, he was convicted in Parker County for delivery of a controlled substance and sentenced to 27 years in prison. Zimmerman also had a 27-year sentence in Erath County in 2004 for possession of a controlled substance, five felony DWI convictions for which he received four or five-year sentences, and convictions for felony criminal mischief and criminal nonsupport cases.
“This defendant has come back into the criminal justice system over and over again,” Assistant District Attorney Abby Placke — who tried the case with Assistant District Attorney Larry Fadler — said. “Whether it’s endangering our community by driving drunk or by selling or possessing drugs, nothing seems to change Mr. Zimmerman. As we pointed out in closing argument, coming into this trial, he had 83 years of prison sentences.”
According to the release, the case began when the Weatherford Police Department received a 911 call about a person passed out in a vehicle in the lane of traffic at a stop sign in Weatherford. When police arrived, they had difficulty waking Zimmerman and noticed that he smelled of alcohol. When officers tried to have Zimmerman complete a series of sobriety tests, the tests had to be stopped because he almost fell down, after which Zimmerman was arrested.
Zimmerman refused a breath test and officers obtained a search warrant and transported him to Medical City Weatherford where a blood sample was taken, according to the release. Results of the test showed that Zimmerman’s blood alcohol concentration was 0.22, nearly three times the legal limit of 0.08.
“Thankfully, Mr. Zimmerman passed out this time before he drove any further,” Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain said. “At his level of intoxication and falling down drunk, he posed a real danger to every other person on our county’s roads and on DWI No. 8, he has had plenty of chances to change.”
Jurors deliberated for 50 minutes before convicting Zimmerman and for 30 minutes before returning with a life sentence in the punishment phase, according to the release. The case was tried in the 415th District Court, District Judge Graham Quisenberry presiding.