Fayette County

Fayette at-large candidate says he has grown, made changes after DUI charges

A candidate in the at-large race to become Lexington's next vice mayor said this week that he has made changes in his life since his two drunken driving charges.

Bill Cegelka, a small business owner who has previously served on the Urban County Council, was charged in 2006 in San Diego with driving under the influence and was charged again in 2011 in Lexington with DUI.

"I am grateful and fortunate that I didn't hurt anybody," Cegelka said. "I'm glad that I've made some changes in my life."

Cegelka's previous drunken driving charges surfaced in online comments on Herald-Leader stories about the at-large council race. Cegelka's 2011 Kentucky charge was difficult to find because his full name is Walter William Cegelka but he signs most documents Bill Cegelka.

When the Herald-Leader first asked Cegelka about the 2011 charge, Cegelka said he had made a bad decision several years ago and had paid the price. Cegelka did not mention the 2006 DUI charge in California until the Herald-Leader questioned him about it.

Cegelka faces five other candidates in the at-large race. The top vote getter in the Nov. 4 race will become vice mayor. Second and third place finishers will serve at-large, a four-year term. Other candidates in the race — Chris Logan, Steve Kay, Richard Moloney, Kevin Stinnett and Jon Larson — either declined to comment or could not be reached.

Cegelka said that after his second arrest he had a long talk with his wife and realized that he had to change. "It's been a humbling experience," he said. "That period of my life is behind me, thanks to the strong support and patience of my wife, family and friends."

Cegelka received five years probation for the 2006 California charge in addition to a fine and alcohol counseling, according to San Diego court records. California court records gave no details of the incident only to say that Cegelka was stopped on 6th Avenue in San Diego in July 2006.

According to Fayette District Court records, Cegelka had a blood alcohol level of .23 when he was stopped at 2 a.m. at Rose and Vine streets in December 2011. The legal limit is .08.

Cegelka pleaded guilty to the 2011 charge and served four days in jail and paid $716 in fines and court costs. In addition, his license was suspended for 45 days, according to Fayette District Court records. In addition to the DUI charge, Cegelka also was charged for having an expired license plate and driving on an out-of-state-license. He was a Kentucky resident at the time. Those two counts were merged with the DUI charge, according to court records.

"I screwed up twice," Cegelka said. "Once was during a very dark time in my life and I was upset that my mom had terminal cancer. The second was celebrating with an old friend that I hadn't seen in a decade. The circumstances explain the behavior but they don't excuse it."