VERSAILLES — A Louisville man entered an Alford plea Wednesday to murder and other charges stemming from the 2013 drunken-driving collision that killed a 5-year-old Lexington boy.
Alfonso Diaz-Diaz, 28, entered the plea to murder in the death of Blake Cohorn, a kindergartner at Harrison Elementary School. Under a plea deal, the recommended sentence is 25 years in prison.
"It makes me feel a lot better to know that my son will have justice served in his name," said Wendi Cohorn, Blake's mother. "I don't want anybody else to have to go through the pain and the suffering that I've had to go through in the last year. No mother deserves to see their baby in a casket."
Woodford Circuit Judge Rob Johnson scheduled sentencing for Aug. 6. Diaz-Diaz had been scheduled to go on trial on May 21 in Versailles. He also entered an Alford plea on four counts of first-degree assault, two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, driving under the influence and not having an operator's license.
Never miss a local story.
In an Alford plea, a defendant maintains his innocence but pleads guilty because he thinks there is enough evidence for a jury to convict.
Diaz-Diaz was driving a Volkswagen Jetta that collided with a 1999 Chevrolet Lumina just before 10 p.m. Diaz-Diaz was driving west in the eastbound lanes of U.S. 60 when the crash occurred about a mile west of Versailles.
Injured in the crash were Blake's parents, Wendi and Rocky Cohorn, and Blake's uncle, Danny Cohorn. The family had been visiting relatives in Evansville, Ind., and was driving back to Lexington when the crash happened.
A Versailles police report said Diaz-Diaz had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath and that a minimum of 12 empty beer bottles were seen in the Jetta. Diaz-Diaz had a blood-alcohol level of 0.15 percent or nearly twice the legal driving limit.
In addition, Diaz-Diaz was seen in an intoxicated state at a rodeo on Pinckard Pike shortly before the crash. He was made to leave the rodeo because he had been making a disturbance.
Meanwhile, two civil cases are pending in Woodford Circuit Court.
One suit filed last year by the Cohorns names Hodge Stables, the Versailles Police Department and off-duty police officer Carlos Caracamo, among others, as defendants. The suit alleges that Caracamo was the one who ordered Diaz-Diaz to leave the rodeo.
In a response to the suit, an attorney for the city says Caracamo, as an off-duty officer, was acting outside his scope as an officer for the city, so the allegations against him should be dropped.
The other suit, filed in April, names various promoters and sponsors of the rodeo, including Anheuser-Busch LLC, who sold beer at the event.
The latter suit alleges that no license was issued by Woodford County authorizing the sale of alcoholic beverages to patrons and customers at the rodeo.
The suit says those people who sold and furnished beer to Diaz-Diaz should have known that he presented a real or potential danger to the general public.
A motion to consolidate the two suits has not received a ruling.