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Judge hears two DUI cases in court

Judge hears two DUI cases in court

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PLATTSMOUTH – Two people accepted plea agreements in Cass County District Court on Monday morning after they were charged with driving while impaired on local roads.

The first case involved 22-year-old Omaha resident Chantz L. Bryant-Ballard. He pled guilty to a Class W misdemeanor of driving under the influence of a drug-first offense. The state agreed to dismiss a drug-related charge as part of the plea bargain. Cass County Attorney Colin Palm also told the court the state would likely recommend probation at the time of sentencing.

A Plattsmouth police officer was on duty during the overnight hours of Jan. 23. The officer responded to the 200 block of South 23rd Street at 1:36 a.m. after receiving a report of a car parked in the middle of the road. Palm said the car was blocking the entire southbound lane of traffic.

The officer saw Bryant-Ballard was in the driver’s seat of the vehicle. The officer noticed the gearshift was still in a driving position and asked him to move it into a parked position.

Palm said the officer reported Bryant-Ballard had slurred speech and did not know he was in Plattsmouth. He first told the officer he was either on 72nd or 84th streets in Omaha, and he later said he was going to be driving to a local casino.

A preliminary breath test showed no signs of alcohol impairment, but Bryant-Ballard admitted to the officer that he had smoked approximately one gram of marijuana earlier that day. A drug expert with the Papillion Police Department arrived on scene and examined Bryant-Ballard. He felt he was unable to operate the car in a safe or prudent manner.

Authorities arrested Bryant-Ballard and transported him to Cass County Jail. They then searched his car. They found a clear container with marijuana inside it.

Palm said Bryant-Ballard had driven south on Highway 75 before reaching Plattsmouth. The car sustained damages when it struck a fence along the road.

Bryant-Ballard is free on bond. The court set a sentencing date of Sept. 7.

The second case involved 28-year-old Justine M. Safarik of Plattsmouth. She pled guilty to a Class I misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence of alcohol-second offense-.15+. She also pled guilty to a Class I misdemeanor charge of attempted driving under suspension.

Deputy County Attorney Sarah Sutter told the court a Plattsmouth police officer responded to a report of an argument at a local business at 6:51 p.m. March 26. The officer learned two people had left the business in a pickup truck.

The officer was on her way to the area when she spotted a truck on Avenue B that fit the description of the report. She stopped the vehicle on North 15th Street in order to speak to the driver and passenger.

The officer noticed the smell of alcohol and conducted a preliminary breath test. She arrested Safarik after the measurement was over the legal limit. A chemical test conducted at Cass County Jail revealed a blood-alcohol content level of .174.

Safarik remains free on bond. The court set a sentencing date of Sept. 27.


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