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By MARY SCHENK
For Rantoul Press
URBANA — A former Rantoul man convicted in Champaign County of his eighth driving under the influence charge has been sentenced to 45 years in prison.
Champaign County Judge John Kennedy convicted Carter Puckett, 48, of Chicago in a stipulated bench trial in October of aggravated DUI in connection with his drunken driving in Rantoul this past summer. Kennedy sentenced Puckett on Monday.
Assistant State’s Attorney Matt Banach and Assistant Public Defender Katie Jessup agreed on the facts that Kennedy considered in reaching his verdict.
On July 29, Puckett was driving east on Veterans Parkway in Rantoul at 1:50 a.m. when a Rantoul police officer saw Puckett’s sport utility vehicle cross the center line and travel in the center turn lane inappropriately.
Officer Matt Bross stopped Puckett, whose eyes were watery, red and bloodshot; his speech slurred; and his breath smelling of alcohol. Puckett admitted to Bross he had drunk four beers and three shots at a bar earlier.
After showing impairment on field sobriety tests, Puckett was given a breath test, which revealed his breath alcohol concentration was 0.15 percent, almost twice the limit for a motorist to be presumed intoxicated in Illinois.
Puckett was eligible for between six and 60 years in prison based on his record.