PLATTSMOUTH – An Arkansas man who was driving under the influence of alcohol near Plattsmouth will spend time in Cass County Jail for the crime.
Kelly R. Bedard, 54, appeared in Cass County District Court on Monday morning for plea and sentencing hearings. He pled guilty to a Class IIIA felony charge of driving under the influence of alcohol-fourth offense.
Bedard, who lives in Heber Springs, Ark., had originally been charged with a Class II felony of DUI-.15+-four or more offenses. He accepted a plea agreement with prosecutors that recommended 180 days in jail and nine months of post-release supervision. The plea deal also called for a 15-year driving suspension.
Deputy County Attorney Steven Sunde told the court Bedard had been driving a silver Buick near the intersection of Bay Road and Highway 75 just after midnight on Aug. 27. Authorities stopped the car because it had expired license plates.
Bedard failed a field sobriety test and had watery eyes and slurred speech. Authorities also found an open container of alcohol in his car.
Bedard was transported to Cass County Jail and was given a chemical breath test. Sunde said the test revealed a blood-alcohol content level of .184. The legal limit is .08.
It was Bedard’s sixth lifetime DUI offense. All five of his previous violations had taken place in Arkansas between 2010 and 2014.
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Sunde told the court he had to reduce the original charge against Bedard because of inconsistencies with Arkansas court procedures. He said there was incomplete paperwork for several earlier charges and convictions in Arkansas, which meant Cass County prosecutors were unable to prove those convictions as part of the local case.
“There are actually more convictions that we found,” Sunde said. “At least one of the counties in Arkansas didn’t do a good-enough job of recording the information, which is why we are at a fourth-offense level here.”
Defense attorney Julie Bear said Bedard was willing to go to immediate sentencing. She said he had been in custody at Cass County Jail for the past 63 days. She said he had been making productive use of his time in jail by completing several jobs and duties there. She asked the court to follow the sentencing recommendation.
Bedard told the court he was apologetic about his actions. He said he had been in Nebraska working as an electrician at the time of the incident.
Judge Michael Smith said he would follow the plea deal’s recommendations. He warned Bedard about the consequences of continuing to use alcohol in the future.
“I’m sure your attorney will tell you this as well, but you got a huge break with this plea agreement,” Smith said. “That’s mainly because it sounds like the Arkansas courts didn’t keep their paperwork straight.”
Bedard will remain in Cass County Jail for his 180-day sentence. He must pay a $1,000 fine and all court costs when he is released, and he will spend the following nine months on post-release supervision. His driver’s license will be suspended for 15 years. He will be eligible to obtain an ignition interlock device permit for his vehicle after 45 days.