LAUREL COUNTY — Derek Lewis, the Republican state representative in the 90th District, was supposed to have a jury trial in Laurel County District Court Wednesday, however his case has been continued.
Judge Wendell “Skip” Hammons Jr. announced that Lewis’ case has been continued until Oct. 7. No explanation was given by the judge, however several other jury trials are scheduled for that October date as well. Lewis’ case had been the only jury trial scheduled for this past Wednesday before being continued.
Lewis pleaded not guilty to the charge of operating a motor vehicle under the influence – first offense during his arraignment in June.
On April 16, Lewis was arrested during the overnight hours by Laurel County Sheriff’s K-9 Deputy Gary Mehler and Sgt. John Inman off Hatcher Road.
According to the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office report, deputies were en route to a complaint call on Hatcher Road when they located a green-colored Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck against a split rail fence down in a ditch.
Upon exiting his patrol vehicle to render aid, Mehler reported that Lewis exited the truck from the passenger side. Mehler noted the vehicle was still running.
The citation states that Lewis appeared unsteady on his feet and that he almost fell backward into the truck even though the pavement was fairly level.
Mehler said he noticed Lewis was slurring his speech and having difficulty with his balance.
“Once I began to speak with him face to face, and in close proximity, I noticed his eyes were very glassy and bloodshot,” said Mehler in the arrest citation. “I also smelled a very strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from his breath.”
Lewis refused to take a field sobriety test and told Mehler to call Laurel County Sheriff John Root, according to the citation.
The citation says that Lewis asked to have his blood sugar level tested. An EMT tested it saying it was slightly elevated “and not the reason for his behavior.”
Lewis was taken to Saint Joseph London where he asked to have two different attorneys contacted. Deputies were unable to contact either and Lewis refused to take a blood test to determine his blood-alcohol level, stated the citation.
The state representative was later released from the Laurel County Detention Center the following morning under his own recognizance.
Lewis released the following statement on his Facebook page from his attorneys Croley, Foley and Cessna - Attorneys At Law:
“On April 16, 2020, at or before midnight, Mr. Lewis was returning to London after working the entire day in Frankfort. As he proceeded home, his vehicle struck a ditch and became immobile. He was not injured. Mr. Lewis was alter charged by the Laurel County Sheriff’s Department with operating his vehicle under the influence.”
The statement then states that Lewis would plead not guilty to the charges, which as mentioned, he did, and that he looks forward to resolving the issue in court.
It goes on to asks that, “everyone following this matter keep an open mind and not reach any conclusions while the matter proceeds through the legal system.”
Lewis will face Democrat nominee, Ralph Hoskins, in the race for the 90th District during the General Election on Nov. 3. The 90th District includes part of Laurel, Clay and Leslie counties.