An Illinois City man with five drunken driving convictions in Iowa is in the Rock Island County Jail on $500,000 bond after being arrested Tuesday on drunken driving charges.
It is the third time since December, and the fourth time since September, that William Gene Gorham, 45, of 30405 113th Ave. W., has been arrested on drunken driving charges.
Gorham was arrested by Rock Island County Sheriff’s deputy Joe Causemaker. The initial charge of misdemeanor driving under the influence was upgraded by county prosecutors to a Class 1 felony, which carries a mandatory prison sentence of four years and a maximum of 15 years.
According to Rock Island County Circuit Court electronic records, the charges were upgraded after it was learned that Gorham “is alleged to have four convictions for OWI-DUI and pending (allegedly) another four OWI-DUI.”
Causemaker also filed traffic charges against Gorham of improper lane usage, driving while license suspended and having an open container of alcohol.
If Gorham can come up with the 10 percent, or $50,000, to make bail, he will be required to wear an electronic monitor.
Gorham was supposed to have appeared in Mercer County Circuit Court on Wednesday for a case status hearing on a charge of aggravated drunken driving, a Class 1 felony.
In that case, he also is charged with possessing a firearm with a revoked Firearm Owner’s Identification Card which is a Class 3 felony that carries a prison sentence of two to five years. Additionally, he is charged with driving on a suspended license, a Class 4 felony that carries a prison sentence of one to three years, and aggravated assault, an aggravated misdemeanor that carries a jail sentence of up to one year.
Authorities in Mercer County arrested Gorham on Dec. 12 in the Reynolds area after receiving a 911 call.
During a hearing in Mercer County Circuit Court the day of his arrest, Gorham’s bond was set at $50,000, and he was to have no contact with his wife, children, or any member of his wife’s family.
Gorham was released from the Mercer County Jail on Dec. 22 after posting 10 percent of the $50,000 bond.
But on Dec. 23, he was arrested in Des Moines County near Mediapolis, Iowa, by Des Moines County Sheriff’s deputies. According to the arrest affidavit filed by Sheriff’s Deputy Trevor Phillips, Gorham was driving a 2002 Dodge van. As he tried to make a turn east onto Mediapolis Road, he struck a passing vehicle. He then hit the gas and tried to flee.
When deputies got the vehicle stopped, they reportedly asked Gorham how much he had had to drink. Gorham replied, “Too much,” according to the arrest affidavit.
Gorham failed a field sobriety test and was booked into the Des Moines County Jail on charges of operating while intoxicated third offense, and driving on a revoked license.
The operating while intoxicated-third offense, the highest drunken driving charge in Iowa, is a Class D felony under Iowa law that carries a prison sentence of up to five years.
According to Phillips’ arrest affidavit, Gorham has five previous convictions in Iowa for operating while intoxicated.
Gorham was released from the Des Moines County Jail on Dec. 24 after posting 10 percent of a $5,000 bond through a bonding company.
Gorham also has a pending drunken driving case in Muscatine County, where he was arrested Sept. 16 for operating while intoxicated. A hearing on that case is scheduled for Feb. 12 in Muscatine County District Court.