FRANKFORT — A state official arrested last month for driving under the influence seven minutes after leaving work pleaded not guilty to that charge and others Thursday.
Jerry T. Lunsford, a division director in the Finance and Administration Cabinet, was arrested May 14 at 10:37 a.m. in Frankfort by Kentucky State Police and charged with driving under the influence, disregarding a traffic light, reckless driving and operating a vehicle without a license.
The citation said Lunsford nearly struck a state trooper's vehicle at Schenkel and Versailles roads in Frankfort. The trooper stopped the car and said Lunsford's "speech was slurred, he appeared slightly disoriented and stated he was just tired."
Police found prescription pills in Lunsford's vehicle, including oxycodone. Lunsford told police he was taking the medication because of a cracked rib. According to Lunsford's time sheets, he left work at 10:30 a.m. because he was ill.
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The citation said a blood test was taken. Test results are pending.
Lunsford pleaded not guilty to the charges in Franklin District Court. His next pretrial hearing is Aug. 16 at 1 p.m.
Lunsford remains employed by the state, said Cindy Lanham, a spokeswoman for the Finance and Administration Cabinet.
Lunsford moved to the Finance and Administration Cabinet in March, taking a nearly $20,000 pay cut. He was formerly the commissioner of the Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction, where he made $94,500. As building services director for Finance and Administration, he makes $75,000.
During Lunsford's tenure at Housing, Buildings and Construction, an Office of Inspector General investigation found that two state employees had sex in a janitor closet with an inmate who was working in the department and that there were problems with how the department tracked money from the sale of copper parts.
Lunsford has denied repeated requests for comment.
The report questioned why Lunsford waited two days to tell his superiors at the Public Protection Cabinet, which oversees Housing, Buildings and Construction, about allegations that workers were having sex with an inmate.
Gov. Steve Beshear first appointed Lunsford in February 2011. Before that, Lunsford was a Frankfort building contractor and a business partner of former Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo.