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Graves sentenced on drunk driving charge

Daily Inter Lake | February 25, 2022 7:00 AM

District Judge Matthew Cuffe handed down on Feb. 7 a suspended, three-year sentence to a local man caught driving under the influence last year.

William Graves, 65, who once bragged to local law enforcement about his prowess driving while intoxicated, also must successfully complete Lincoln County Treatment Court.

Prosecutors initially charged Graves with driving under the influence, fourth or subsequent offense, or alternatively operating a noncommercial motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of more than .08. He later struck a deal and pleaded guilty to the alternative charge on Jan. 3.

Cuffe described the plea agreement as appropriate while handing down the sentence, saying that Graves had acknowledged his problem with alcohol.

“[Graves] agrees he has a substance addiction issue,” Cuffe said.

Deputy Derek Breiland of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office arrested Graves after coming across a vehicle driving erratically on U.S. Highway 2 about 1:50 a.m., May 23. Pulling the vehicle over, Breiland noted that Graves’ speech was slurred and his eyes watery. He smelled of an alcoholic beverage.

Breiland wrote that he knew Graves from previous encounters.

“Graves has told me previously that we cannot catch him driving drunk because he is too quick, or something to that effect,” Breiland wrote.

Graves eventually admitted to drinking prior to getting behind the wheel. He performed accordingly during a subsequent field sobriety test, according to court documents.

Even so, Graves asked that Breiland, then joined by Deputy James Derryberry, send him home rather than arrest him. Instead, they took him to the Lincoln County Detention Center.

He refused both breath and blood tests, court documents said.

According to court documents, Graves has four prior driving under the influence convictions: one in 2003, another in 2007 and two in 2008.