By Charlotte Underwood / Staff Writer
After more than two years and an erroneous dismissal, the drunk driving case against a former Whitley County jail employee is set to go to trial today, according to officials and court documents.
The case against Lloyd E. Davenport had been set to go to trial on Dec. 7, 2011 in Whitley County District Court before Judge Fred White but court records indicate Whitley County Attorney Don Moses recused himself from the case. Then White ordered the case dismissed.
This was done in error, according to Commonwealth’s Attorney Allen Trimble, who was named as special prosecutor in the case in December, after the Attorney General’s Office received the request from the Williamsburg Police Department. Trimble had filed motions in December asking that the case be reinstated, saying that he felt like the state had the “grounds” to do so.
On March 28, 2012, Trimble filed a motion for a trial date to be set regarding the DUI case. Davenport’s trial was set for 9 a.m. on the Aug. 8 court docket.
Davenport was arrested on May 9, 2010, by Williamsburg Police Officer Brandon White and charged with careless driving and driving under the influence. Davenport worked for the Whitley County Detention Center at the time of his arrest.
Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird said that he was glad the case was reinstated and hoped it would be resolved soon.
“It’s been over two years, I look forward to getting the case over,” Bird said.
Davenport was booked in at 12:23 a.m. on May 9 and released 34 minutes later on a $2,500 surety bond set by District Judge Jason Price.
White recorded that Davenport refused a breathalyzer test. Davenport said “he would blow over the limit” if he did take the test, the citation states.
“He was arrested for DUI just like anybody else we arrest,” said Bird. “It was a normal DUI. He was released quite early, which shocks me. Normally, when we arrest somebody else for DUI that late at night, there’s usually a certain time period DUIs are held before they are given a bond.
“There’s no way he could’ve been sober by the time he was released, based on his sobriety at the time of the stop and the time given that he was released.”
Davenport was not seen by pre-trial services, which reviews a defendant’s criminal history and suggests an appropriate bond to the judge.
“Normally a DUI has to see a pretrial officer to get a bond, but… I can’t speak for what happened there,” Bird said. “I can only speak for the fact that Officer White did his job. I try not to let myself get disappointed about things like that. The way I look at it now is we go out and do our job. We do what we’re supposed to do, and once the person is taken to a jail, it’s up to the rest of the system to work, it’s on them,” Bird said.
Bird also noted that Davenport’s license wasn’t suspended, as called for by Kentucky law in those cases where a driver refuses to submit to an alcohol or substance test.
The law states that “a person who refuses to submit to an alcohol concentration or substance test requested by an officer” who has “reasonable grounds” to believe that the person has violated DUI laws “shall have his driver’s license suspended by the court during the pendency of the action.”
Davenport also has a 2004 arrest for careless driving and fleeing or evading police.