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LaRue County Schools Superintendent Samuel D. Sanders pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and speeding.
Sanders and his attorney, Doug Hubbard of Bardstown, stood before Special Judge Lisa P. Jones and a mostly empty courtroom.
Jones, who usually presides over the 6th Judicial District (Owensboro area), was appointed to oversee the case after LaRue District Judge C. Derek Reed recused himself.
Sanders surrendered his driver’s license for 90 days at Judge Jones’ request.
According to state law, a refusal of a person who is suspected of DUI to take a blood, breath or urine test results in revocation of driving privilege. Sanders refused to take a breathalyzer after his arrest on March 29, according to a citation issued by Officer James Richardson.
If Sanders is found guilty of the DUI charge, he will be subject to a mandatory minimum jail sentence that is twice as long as one that would be imposed if he had taken the test, according to state law. He is disqualified from obtaining a hardship license.
County Attorney Dale Morris also recused himself and requested a special prosecutor be provided for the case.
Morris said he asked the Attorney General’s office last week to appoint another prosecutor and expects one to be available in a few days.
He decided to step down from the case because the Morris and Sanders families have been friends for many years, and he has worked closely with Sanders on a regular basis through the school district, said Morris.
Morris also served on the LaRue County School Board for many years.
Hubbard made motions requesting evidence collected by Hodgenville City Police from the March 29 arrest, specifically how footage from the arresting officer’s dash-cam “got on TV.”
Records of a law enforcement agency in an ongoing investigation generally are not released until enforcement action is completed.
Sanders was allegedly driving 15 miles over the speed limit in a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu owned by the LaRue County Board of Education when he was pulled over near his home in Hodgenville. Officer Richardson’s citation indicated Sanders failed a field sobriety test.
The report said Sanders blew into the portable breathalyzer tube but failed to blow long enough and wouldn’t make a good seal around the tube, “blowing out the corner of his lips.” Richardson reported he “captured the sample manually,” letting go of the button at .08, which is the legal limit for DUI.
Sanders signed a refusal to submit to the breathalyzer test while at the station, according to police.
The judge set the next hearing for May 13.
The LaRue County School Board met in closed session April 1 to discuss the matter, but took no action.