HAZARD – A candidate running for commonwealth attorney in Perry County says he is not guilty of a DUI charge leveled against him, and he plans to keep his candidacy intact and fight the charge in court.
Buddy Williams, who also currently serves as assistant county attorney, was arrested at his house by an officer with the Hazard Police Department on Saturday and charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence. But according to comments he made to the Herald on Tuesday, while he admits he had been drinking that evening, he said he was not driving.
It was at a friend’s house where Williams noted that his wife came to pick up him up following a basketball game Saturday evening. He explained that he was drunk, but was actually in the back seat of the car on the way home. While he doesn’t remember everything that happened, he said his wife told him that as the car was almost to the driveway she turned to take a pack of cigarettes from him and that’s when the car apparently brushed up against a rock wall in front of a neighbor’s home.
Williams said his wife later pulled the car into their driveway before walking inside. He said he stepped out of the car and opened the driver’s side door to retrieve the cigarettes, and that’s when a man came from the neighbor’s home and confronted him about the accident. Williams said he told the man, whom he did not recognize, if there was damage then they’d pay for it, and wasn’t sure if anything else was said.
Minutes later, Williams said a police officer showed up at his house. He said he wasn’t sure who called authorities, but at one point Williams’ wife came outside to inquire what was happening.
“She asked what was going on, and I’m not sure what the officer said about anything,” Williams explained. “But she told him, ‘What are you all doing, I’m the one who hit the wall, I’m the one that was driving.’”
Williams said there was an argument and the officer dismissed what she said and then threatened to take her to jail.
“At that point, I don’t want my wife to go to jail,” he said. “So I just told him to take me to jail, and that’s what happened.”
Williams is facing one count of operating a motor vehicle under the influence, but said he will plead not guilty. He added that he has cut a radio ad telling his side of the story that will begin running on WSGS Wednesday during the 7 a.m. news hour.
“We’ll plead not guilty,” he said, later adding that he would “prefer to have a trial on it just as quick as we can.”
In the meantime, Williams said he will remain a candidate for commonwealth attorney in Perry County, and will continue to serve as assistant county attorney, though his latter role will be diminished somewhat. County Attorney John Carl Shackelford did temporarily suspended Williams’ prosecutorial duties for the time being.
And while he continues to maintain his innocence, he noted that along with the criminal charge he is also having to deal with the embarrassment of what has become a very public allegation.
“I’m so embarrassed over this I can’t put it into words,” he said.
Williams is currently due for arraignment in District Court in June.