On Tuesday an Adair County Circuit Court jury convicted Buddy R. Longwell, 42, of Albany, of driving under the influence of alcohol or other substance which impairs driving ability, fourth or subsequent offense. The jury also convicted Longwell of being a first-degree persistent felony offender and recommended that he serve 15 years in prison.
According to testimony, Kentucky State Police Trooper Allen Shirley observed Longwell operating a Dodge truck traveling south on Ky. 61 near the Breeding community of Adair County on Oct. 13, 2018. Trooper Shirley witnessed Longwell weaving while driving on the road and conducted a traffic stop after Longwell crossed the centerline of the highway multiple times.
According to Shirley, Longwell admitted that he had consumed Xanax earlier in the day. Shirley administered several field sobriety tests to Longwell and determined that Longwell appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance and that his ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired.
Longwell was arrested and taken to T.J. Health Columbia, where he refused Shirley’s request that he submit to a blood test. Shirley also learned that Longwell’s driver’s license was suspended at the time of the traffic stop. Evidence at trial showed that Longwell was prescribed hydrocodone and alprazolam at the time of the incident.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Brian Wright prosecuted the case and presented evidence pertaining to the DUI during the first stage of the trial. During the penalty phase of the trial, Wright introduced evidence concerning Longwell’s prior criminal record, including proof of five prior DUI convictions in Russell, Clinton and Cumberland counties.
After the verdict Wright said, “It is clear that jurors in this community feel that repeat DUI offenders are a danger to the public and should receive significant punishment for such behavior.” Wright further commended Trooper Shirley for his efforts to remove impaired drivers from the roadways and Wright said that his office will continue to aggressively prosecute repeat DUI offenders. Longwell, who was represented at trial by Albany attorney David Cross, will appear before Adair Circuit Judge Judy Vance Murphy on Feb. 25 for final sentencing.