HAZARD — A candidate for commonwealth attorney in Perry County was charged over the weekend following an alleged drunk driving incident.
Hazard police were called to a home on Spring Street on March 17 after a neighbor alleged that someone had hit a stone wall and driven off. According to the police citation, the neighbor reported seeing the driver, 54-year-old Cordell “Buddy” Williams, get out of the vehicle. Williams, a Republican candidate for commonwealth attorney, is currently serving as assistant county attorney as well.
The witness alleged that Williams was driving under the influence, and when police arrived at Williams’ home they noted a “strong odor of alcoholic beverage” and that he was unsteady on his feet. Williams told police that he had driven home “about an hour ago,” the citation notes.
Officer Lonnie Z. Noble with the Hazard Police Department attempted to conduct a field sobriety test, however, according to the citation, Williams said he could not or would not perform some of the tests. A breathalyzer test was reportedly done and Williams was found to have a .226 blood alcohol level, nearly three times the legal limit.
Further investigation showed that a piece of the bumper that matched Williams’s car was allegedly found at the scene of the accident.
Williams is facing one count of operating a motor vehicle under the influence. He was not immediately available for comment on Monday.
Perry County Attorney John Carl Shackelford said that Williams has been temporarily suspended from prosecuting duties until the case is resolved, though he is still working at the county attorney’s office in the meantime.
Shackelford said that while the allegations are serious, he does not want to take any permanent action until he is able to gather more information.
“He has been charged, and that’s serious, but still in our system you’re presumed innocent until you’re found guilty,” Shackelford said. “That’s the way we have to treat people in court every day. I don’t want to make any major decisions like that, of a permanent nature, without having the benefit of all the facts.”
Due to Williams’ employment in the county attorney’s office, the case has been turned over to the attorney general’s office for prosecution. He is currently scheduled for arraignment in June.