Whitesburg Police Chief Tyrone Fields pleaded guilty recently in Perry District Court to a driving while intoxicated charge filed against him last November.
“I want the public to know,” Fields said of his decision Tuesday to announce his guilty plea through The Mountain Eagle. “I think you need to do a story and let the people know. Some people thought it had been swept under the rug, but it hasn’t.”
In exchange for his guilty plea, Perry District Judge Leigh Anne Stephens fined the 26- year- old Fields $718, suspended his operator’s license for 30 days, and ordered him to complete the minimum of 20 hours of alcohol and drug education required under Kentucky law for a first-offense DUI charge.
“Just because I’m the chief of police in Whitesburg, that doesn’t exclude me from anything,” said Fields. “I admit guilt.”
The announcement by Fields this week marks the second time he has admitted guilt, the first coming just the day after he was arrested by a Hazard City Patrolman after falling asleep while waiting in a long drive-thru line at a Taco Bell restaurant located near KY Highway 80.
Acquaintances of Fields have said he was operating on just two-hours’ sleep from working the night before when he fell asleep at the wheel about 1 a.m. November 16 while awaiting his turn to make a food order.
Before his arrest, Fields had been in Hazard attending a birthday party for his son. He was driving alone in his private automobile at the time of his arrest.
“I can’t take back what has happened,” Fields said in his first apology. “All I can say is I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart — first to my family, and then to my community and my mayor (who have had) the most confidence in me to enforce the law and perform my job. I am a human and I make mistakes daily. Am I in the right? Absolutely not.”