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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Ex-Deputy Pleads in DUI, Loses Job

Ex-deputy accepts plea agreement
The McCook Gazette - January 5, 2012

McCOOK, Nebraska - A former sheriff's deputy admitted guilt to first offense refusal to submit to a chemical test in exchange for dismissal of charges of drunk driving and driving left of center.
The defendant, Amber D. Hiatt, will be sentenced at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 9. Cambridge attorney Eric Eisenhart served as the Red Willow County prosecutor in the case and said during the December hearing that possible penalties for the refusal charge were essentially the same as DUI first offense. District 10 Judge Robert Ide presided over the case, after County Court Judge Anne Paine recused herself in July. During is recount of the factual basis for the case Eisenhart said that at approximately 1:45 a.m. on June 12, 2011, a McCook police officer saw Hiatt's vehicle driving in a manner that attracted his attention. He pulled the vehicle over without knowing who was driving. The officer found Hiatt driving the vehicle, accompanied by a male companion, who turned out to be another deputy. According to Eisenhart, Hiatt was subsequently arrested and taken to the McCook jail, where she refused chemical tests of her blood, breath and urine. Hiatt, a 28-year-old Red Willow County Sheriff at the time of her arrest, was originally cited with DUI, driving left of center, refusal to submit to a chemical test and for not having her driver's license on her person. The June 2011 traffic stop occurred near the 300 block of West Third Street in McCook. Hiatt pleaded not guilty to the charges in July, in addition to submitting her resignation to the Red Willow County Sheriff's Department, before accepting the plea agreement during the December hearing. Prior to scheduling sentencing in the case, Ide ordered a pre-sentence investigation which included a drug and alcohol evaluation of Hiatt. Ide said then that statistics showed that 80 percent of first-offense drunk drivers would not be seen in court again, but 50 percent of fatal accidents were alcohol related.

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