UK basketball player Derek Willis gets diversion in alcohol into - WDRB 41 Louisville News

UK basketball player Derek Willis gets diversion in alcohol intoxication case

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Derek Willis Derek Willis

LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) -- University of Kentucky basketball player Derek Willis was given diversion in his alcohol intoxication case in Boone County District Court on Friday.

Willis will have to perform community service or take part in some other court-ordered program and upon completion can then get the charge dismissed and erased from his record, court officials said.

Keely Potts, who was with Willis when he was arrested earlier this month in Boone County, pleaded guilty to alcohol intoxication and paid a $25 fine.

An attorney for Willis, James Lowry, did not immediately return a phone message. Potts did not have an attorney.

A diversion program allows defendants to avoid criminal charges and a criminal record.

Police found Potts in the passenger seat and Willis lying on the ground just outside the driver's door in the middle of the road on Mountain Laurel Way, near Rice Pike, in Union, Kentucky, just before 4:30 a.m. on June 11.  

Potts, who has been described as Willis' girlfriend in media reports, told a deputy one of her friends may have driven them to the home they were in front of, where they were found by police.

"I don't know if (Willis) drove or not," Potts said, according to a video from the cruiser of a Boone County Sheriff's Deputy. Potts said another woman was with them and they were parked on the curb outside her home. 

"I guess I will know when I talk to her," Potts said to the deputy. 

Both Potts and Willis were arrested on a misdemeanor charge of alcohol intoxication in a public place.

Some have questioned why Willis was not charged with driving under the influence.

According to the arrest report, Willis was so intoxicated he was unconscious and an officer had to wake him up. He allegedly told authorities he'd had "a lot" to drink, and had no idea where he was, beyond being in "northern Kentucky."

A police dash cam video showed Willis lying in street, police waking him up and handcuffing him, then walking him to a police cruiser. He then half-sat, half-laid in the back seat, either sleeping or passed out. He was in a different cruiser than Potts. At one point, a deputy asked Willis if he was OK, and he answered that he was.

Major Tom Scheben, a spokesperson for the Boone County Sheriff's Department, said in an email that Willis was not charged with DUI because he was "lying in the street, thus no evidence whatsoever he was driving."

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