UPDATE: State representative found not guilty of DUI
UPDATE POSTED 11 A.M. MAY 20, 2021
LONDON, Ky. (WTVQ/AP) – A Kentucky legislator has been cleared of a DUI charge more than a year after his arrest.
District 90 state Rep. Derek Lewis, a Republican who represents Laurel and Clay counties and part of Leslie County, celebrated the jury’s not-guilty verdict with a Facebook post.
“After waiting over a year to go to trial due to circumstances beyond my control, today I was found innocent by a jury of my peers. I appreciate the men and women of the jury for giving careful consideration to the facts of this case, as well as to my family and friends for standing by me during this extremely difficult time. Today’s verdict is a reminder that we still live in the greatest nation on earth, and that truth can and will prevail. I look forward to putting this behind me and continuing my work on behalf of the people of Clay, Leslie, and Laurel counties. I especially want to thank Conrad Cessna for his legal counsel and guidance through this process,” Lewis said of the trial and verdict from a six-person jury in Laurel County District Court.
Lewis was arrested on Hatcher Road by Sgt. Gary Mehler, who was a deputy at the time,and Sgt. John Inman on April 16, 2020, after his truck was found in a ditch. The lawmaker was on his way back from Frankfort after the last day of the legislative session last year.
The accident was about a half mile from Lewis’ home.
During the trial, Cessna emphasized inconsistencies in the deputies’ reports concerning the arrest and facts concerning the scene. One key one was Lewis reportedly telling the deputies he ran into the ditch while “messing” with his cell phone and the fact no signs of alcohol were found in the truck.
Meantime, Kentucky’s attorney general is asking the state Supreme Court to reconsider its recent ruling in a separate DUI case that played a role in Lewis’ DUI trial.
The state Supreme Court ruling was cited in a defense motion that prevented the prosecutor from presenting Lewis’ blood-test refusal to the jury.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office says the high court’s ruling will “stand as a barrier” to prosecuting many DUI cases and thereby make the roads less safe.
ORIGINAL STORY POSTED APRIL 16, 2020
LONDON, Ky. (WTVQ) – First-term Republican State Representative Derek Lewis, of London, was arrested early Thursday on a DUI charge, according to the Laurel County Sheriff’s Department and the Lexington Herald-Leader.
In a press release, he sheriff’s department said:
“The arrest occurred off Hatcher Road, approximately two miles east of London as a deputies were enroute to a complaint call on Hatcher Road when they located a green colored Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck against a split rail fence down in the ditch off Hatcher Road. Deputies stopped to check on the driver and detected the odor of alcoholic beverages emitting from the driver. An investigation was conducted and the driver was determined to be under the influence and was charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence – first offense.”
According to the Herald-Leader, the report says an officer with the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office was on his way to a call when he saw a pickup truck up against a fence in a ditch.
The report says Lewis got out of the pickup truck and was “extremely unsteady” on his feet, almost falling backwards into the truck.
Lewis slurred his words, had glassy, bloodshot eyes, smelled of alcohol, cursed and was uncooperative and belligerent, according to the report.
He refused to perform a field sobriety test and repeatedly demanded the officer call Laurel County Sheriff John Root, according to the report.
Lewis was taken to Saint Joseph-London Hospital, where he refused to take a blood test to determine his blood-alcohol level, according to the report.
He was arrested and taken to the Laurel County Detention Center.
Lewis represents Laurel and Clay counties and part of Leslie County.
The Kentucky House adjourned around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, ending the 2020 legislative session. Lewis was arrested in London at 1:36 a.m., according to the report.