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CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Bradley County Commissioner Jeff Yarber has submitted a guilty plea to a charge of driving under the influence.
The plea, recorded recently in Bradley County General Sessions Court documents, will be presented officially to Judge Sheridan Randolph on June 25, Yarber's attorney James Logan said.
"With great humility and a sense of shame, I have acknowledged my responsibility for an act which is unacceptable," Yarber said in a statement released by his attorney. "I apologize for my act and accept the punishment which is appropriate."
Yarber is to be fined $350 and will serve 48 hours, less time he served immediately after his arrest in the early morning hours of Dec. 7, 2012, according to court documents.
The 5th District Bradley County commissioner also will apply to have an ignition interlock device installed in his vehicle, Logan said. The device prevents a vehicle from starting if alcohol is detected in its breathing sensor, which must be activated before ignition.
The unusual nature of processing the plea was a matter of accommodation for the state, Logan said.
Tyler Pride, the Cleveland police officer who arrested Yarber, has moved to Texas since the incident, Logan said. He said Yarber wished to spare the state the $800 expense for flying the officer back to testify, because he had planned to enter a guilty plea.
"There was no question of what he was going to do," Logan said.
The hearing date for Yarber has been rescheduled three times since March 14. On one occasion, court officials said a hearing had to be rescheduled because of a scheduling conflict with Pride.
According to the affidavit of complaint, Pride reported that he found Yarber unconscious in the driver's seat of a black 2012 Dodge Charger, which was parked in front of the All Seasons Chem Dry on Goldstar Drive SW. Pride had been responding to a call about a black Dodge Charger that reportedly was traveling west in the eastbound lanes of APD-40 just after midnight.
Yarber's "speech was slurred and his eyes were red and glassy," Pride said in his report. Yarber registered a 0.12 blood-alcohol content reading in a Breathalyzer test. The legal limit is 0.08.
Regarding the plea's impact on Yarber's role as a Bradley County commissioner, Logan said he did not believe the facts supported ouster proceedings.
Bradley County Attorney Crystal Freiberg could not be reached for comment Friday, but she previously said that it was unclear if any ouster proceedings were called for, even if Yarber should be convicted of DUI.
"I pledge to my constituents and the county as a whole that I have and will continue to work diligently to perform my duties and do what is best for our community," Yarber said in the released statement.
Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.