At first glance, Ronald Lewallen’s six-year prison sentence for drunken driving may appear harsh.

Other East Tennessee defendants have drawn much lighter punishments. In Sevierville, for example, a man who was drunk when he killed a high school baseball coach during a 2008 crash received no prison time — only probation.

But climbing behind the wheel drunk had landed Lewallen behind bars before. And prosecutors said his behavior left them no choice but to ask for the maximum penalty during a July 19, 2010, sentencing hearing in Scott County.

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