Woman with at least 4 prior DUI convictions accused of hitting and killing pedestrian

Woman charged in deadly hit & run arrested at least 4 times for DUI

Linda Cartwright has been convicted of DUI at least four times, and now the 55-year-old is accused of hitting and killing a man on Brooks and Coughlin, Thursday night.

Cartwright is charged with vehicular homicide, driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident.

Just before 10:30 p.m. Thursday, police said Cartwright hit a pedestrian that was walking. She then drove away, and the pedestrian was pronounced dead on the scene. Witnesses gave police a description of Cartwright's vehicle, and she was located at her home in the 3100 block of Joyce Lane.

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Cartwright told police she had just left a casino in West Memphis and "hadn't been drinking that much." She refused to take a BAC test, according to the arrest affidavit.

Despite her prior convictions, Cartwright had a valid driver's license.

Assistant Shelby County District Attorney Stephanie Johnson, is prosecuting Cartwright. She won't discuss the specifics of the case, but she told FOX13 the defendant will likely serve a minimum of 15 years without probation.

FOX13 wanted to know why Cartwright was on the streets to begin with given her past record.

"There’s a point in time, no matter how long you sentence someone to jail, they will be out,” Johnson said.

Police said Cartwright was convicted of DUI in 1986, 1987, 1992 and 2015.

In Tennessee, first, second and third DUI offenses are misdemeanors punishable by jail time and license suspension. The fourth offense is felony and license suspension of eight years.

Defense attorney Patrick Stegall is not representing Cartwright, but he told FOX13 her three earlier convictions are more than 10 years old. That means they likely wouldn't be counted in sentencing for her 2015 offense.

“They might be treated like a first offense because the prior convictions are so old,” Stegall said.

He said in Cartwright's case, the year suspension would be up and she would have a valid license.

Starting July 1 in Tennessee, DUI penalties are getting tougher for repeat offenders. Someone with six or more DUI's faces a Class C felony, which is punishable by three to 15 years in prison.