ROGER BURDETTE BOND HEARING 2-22-19 1.jpg

Roger Burdette during a bond hearing on Feb. 22, 2019, in Louisville, Kentucky.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The former MSD driver accused of killing a Louisville Metro Police detective in a wreck on Christmas Eve was "under the influence" of a narcotic and an anti-anxiety drug at the time of the wreck, prosecutors said Friday.

Previously, police had testified that 60-year-old Roger Burdette had said he was on non-narcotic prescription drugs when he hit and killed Det. Deidre Mengedoht.

But in a bond hearing Friday, Assistant Jefferson Commonwealth's Attorney Kristi Gray told a judge that Burdette was on Oxycodone, a narcotic pain medication, and clonazepam, an anti-anxiety drug, while on duty.

"It suggests an inability to control the use of substances that make him a risk to the public," Gray told Circuit Court Judge McKay Chauvin in asking the judge to keep Burdette on a high bond. 

Gray's office later clarified that it contends Burdette was taking Hydrocodone, a less powerful narcotic than Oxycodone.

Burdette's attorneys argued during Friday's hearing that whether he was under the influence at the time of the wreck was something to be determined later. They argued he was not a risk and asked that his bond be lowered, saying his family could not raise more than $10,000 to $15,000. 

Chauvin lowered the bond from $200,000 to $65,000, saying Burdette had no criminal history and was not a high risk for flight. If he posts bond, Burdette will be on home incarceration. 

The judge said the initial bond set in the Burdette case was higher than any he had seen in his career in for a murder charge. 

"My job in this case if to fix this bond according to law," Chauvin said during the hearing. "It doesn't mean we don't have personal feelings about it."

An officer testified in January that Burdette said he was taking medication for blood pressure, cholesterol and depression as well as an antibiotic. Police said Burdette, who was not injured in the wreck, failed a field sobriety test. He was indicted on charges of murder, wanton endangerment and DUI. 

Gray's new information came from a toxicology report based on a blood test.

Police say Roger Burdette's truck slammed into Mengedoht's police cruiser on Christmas Eve on Interstate 64, where she was conducting a traffic stop under the Belvedere. The place the crash occurred does not have an emergency shoulder.

The fiery crash killed the officer.

Wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, Burdette attended the bond hearing and sat between his two lawyers. 

A grand jury indicted Burdette on several charges in early February, including one count of murder, four counts of wanton endangerment, one count of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and one count of failing to give right-of-way to an emergency vehicle.

MSD hired Roger Burdette in 2008. Since then, he has been in six mostly minor accidents before the fatal Christmas Eve crash that killed Mengedoht.

MSD fired Burdette in January.

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Digital Reporter

Jason Riley is a criminal justice reporter for WDRB.com. He joined WDRB News in 2013 after 14 years with The Courier-Journal. He graduated from Western Kentucky University. Jason be reached at 502-585-0823 and jriley@wdrb.com.