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Cass County Courthouse photo

PLATTSMOUTH – A South Bend resident will serve jail time and two years on probation after driving his vehicle into a ditch while drunk.

Mark A. Buettner, 61, appeared in Cass County District Court Tuesday morning for a sentencing hearing. He pled guilty in July to one Class W misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence of alcohol-third offense. The state dismissed three additional charges in exchange for the guilty plea.

Buettner drove his Jeep into a ditch near the intersection of 54th Street and Mill Road southwest of Plattsmouth on April 18. A Cass County Sheriff’s Office deputy discovered him in the ditch at 6:48 p.m.

Deputy County Attorney Steven Sunde said Buettner had poor balance after he left the vehicle. The CCSO deputy also reported Buettner slurred his speech and responded to questions in a slow manner. The deputy arrested Buettner and transported him to Cass County Jail. A chemical breath test revealed a blood-alcohol content level of .296.

Sunde told the court Tuesday he felt Buettner had tried to deflect blame for his actions during a pre-sentence investigation interview. He said he was also concerned about the number of DUIs in a short timespan.

Sunde said the state would accept a sentence of jail time on weekends due to several medical issues facing Buettner’s family. He said the state was sympathetic to Buettner but also wanted to hold him accountable.

Defense attorney Julie Bear asked the court to issue a probation sentence. She said her client had completed a treatment evaluation and had been attending 12-step meetings and counseling sessions. She said he had also been successful in a pre-trial release program.

Judge Michael Smith ordered Buettner to serve 60 days in Cass County Jail over the course of seven weekends. The jail time will begin Oct. 19.

Smith also ordered Buettner to spend 24 months on probation. Buettner must wear a continuous alcohol monitoring device for 180 days and will be required to pay a mandatory $1,000 fine. He will attend a Mothers Against Drunk Driving victim impact panel and his driver’s license will be suspended for 15 years.

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