Fayette County

UK student pleads not guilty to DUI charge in crash that killed 4-year-old boy

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An 18-year-old University of Kentucky student accused of driving drunk in a crash that killed a 4-year-old boy entered a not guilty plea Wednesday in Fayette County District Court.

Jacob Heil, a UK freshman, entered the not guilty plea Wednesday through his attorney, Christoper Spedding. Heil was not required to be at the arraignment because the DUI charge is a misdemeanor.

The next court proceeding for Heil is Oct. 26.

According to Heil’s arrest citation, he had a strong odor of alcoholic beverages, red blood shot watery eyes and showed signs of impairment following the crash that killed 4-year-old Marco Shemwell near Kroger Field during a UK football game.

A police report filed in court Tuesday showed Heil had a blood-alcohol level of 0.051. He told police he drank two beers and that he left from “game tailgating” before the incident.

On Saturday, Lexington police Sgt. Stephen Yoder said the vehicle might have “veered off the road a little bit,” before striking the boy. After the accident, police were seeking witnesses who may have seen it.

Marco Shemwell.jpg
Marco Lee Shemwell, 3 years old in this photograph, died on Monday after being struck by a car over the weekend on Cooper Drive. Provided by Shannon Andreas

Marco died Monday at UK Healthcare’s Kentucky Children’s Hospital, according to the University of Kentucky.

Heil and the fraternity he was pledging, Alpha Tau Omega, have been suspended by the University, President Eli Capilouto announced in a campus-wide email on Tuesday. The suspensions will await the determination of investigations opened by the UK Police Department and Lexington police department.