Gillispie is offered plea deal in DUI case

shopkins@herald-leader.comSeptember 24, 2009 

Former University of Kentucky men's basketball coach Billy Gillispie, who was charged in August with driving under the influence, has been offered a plea bargain, his attorney said Wednesday.

Attorney William Patrick of Lawrenceburg would not discuss details of the plea bargain but said he thinks the offer is reasonable. The attorney said he doesn't know whether Gillispie will accept it.

"I'm not sure what his opinion of it is," Patrick said. "It is not my decision."

Patrick said he could not say when a decision would be made.

Patrick said Wednesday that he has had several discussions with Anderson County attorney Bobbi Jo Lewis over the past few days about reaching a deal on the DUI charge. A pretrial hearing is set for Oct. 5 in Anderson County, and Patrick said Gillispie would need to be there if a plea bargain is imminent.

Lewis could not be reached for comment.

Lawrenceburg police arrested Gillispie shortly before 3 a.m. Aug. 27. Police said he swerved along a roadway in a white 2009 Mercedes-Benz C-300, then fumbled through his car, looking for his insurance.

A police report said Gillispie had red, glassy eyes and slow, slurred speech.

Gillispie's passenger, Charles F. O'Connor, was charged with alcohol intoxication in a public place. Gillispie was jailed overnight in neighboring Franklin County and arraigned the next morning.

In a court document filed Monday, Lewis outlined some of the evidence she has against Gillispie, including audio recordings of the 911 call reporting a vehicle driving erratically, video and audio recordings of the field sobriety tests, and video and audio recordings made at the police department.

In an interview earlier this month, Gillispie told a Houston television station that he had an alcohol problem and had entered a program for help. Patrick confirmed that Gillispie has checked into the John Lucas Athletes After Care Program in Texas for alcohol rehabilitation.

"His spirits are good, and he seems to be doing well," Patrick said.

Gillispie was fired this year after a rocky two-year tenure in which the Wildcats went 40-27. He has sued the university, contending he is owed millions of dollars in severance pay.

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