Happy Friday.

Mistake Allows Man To Drive After 15 DUIs

BOSTON -- A glaring mistake is being blamed for a repeat drunken driver keeping a valid license.

That mistake surfaced this week when the man was arrested for a 15th DUI charge.

NewsCenter 5's Gail Huff reported that Robert Scheller, 57, was arrested just minutes after leaving a liquor store on Tuesday. He was arrested for drunken driving several years ago, but the hearing officer for the Registry of Motor Vehicles did not notice at the time that he had 13 previous convictions for drunken driving, according to registry officials.

This week, he was arrested for a 15th DUI in Marshfield, and when police checked his record they were surprised by what they found.

"We were shocked. And the fact that he was driving through a school zone -- an elementary school zone -- at the time that school was getting out, just makes it that much more disturbing," Marshfield police Lt. Phil Tavares said.

The owner of Marshfield Liquor store said Scheller bought a bottle of vodka in the morning and returned a few hours later to buy more. That's when Keith Whitaker called police.

"Without question he had been drinking and the way he was walking and slurring his words, there was no way I was going to serve him," Whitaker said.

Under the new Melanie's Law, which was named after the victim of a drunken driver, Scheller could now lose his license for the rest of his life. Melanie's grandfather is an advocate for tougher penalties.

"I'm just baffled as to how it could conceivably have happened. I think this one slipped through the cracks. I mean, I really think that this one should have been caught way before this," Ron Bersani said.

It may have been caught before had Scheller's name been added to the national driver's registry of repeat offenders. Scheller had been convicted of drunken driving in Florida, West Virginia, Virginia and Colorado before he moved to Massachusetts and obtained a license.

Photo & material: thebostonchannel.com