Officer Jason Nokes is no
stranger to courtrooms. But he isn't typically sitting in the defendant's seat.
The 40-year-old Winooski police officer-- with nearly two decades on the job--
is facing a DUI charge.
"I have never seen a
case that was .429 percent," Vt. Superior Court Judge Alison Arms said.
That's more than five
times the legal limit. According to police paperwork, a Vermont state trooper
found Nokes' truck in the median on Interstate 89 still running, with Nokes
slumped over in the driver's seat. There was an open beer can in his cup holder
and the trooper could barely wake him up.
"Your honor, as I
stand here today I'm willing to accept full responsibility for my actions and
my behavior," Nokes said.
Rather than go to trial,
Nokes admitted his wrongdoing. "I plead guilty your honor."
...And struck a deal with
prosecutors; one to three months in prison all suspended with six months
probation. A deal the judge declined.
"Right now, knowing
what I know, I think that a longer term is necessary," the judge said.
Judge Arms would not
approve the plea agreement until the state upped Nokes' probationary period to
"My concern is that
for someone who has such a high test, it indicates to me that this is not a
problem for Mr. Nokes that was created on the day of the incident," the
Nokes apologized to his
family, the court and the citizens of Winooski. He said it took a crisis to
realize he had a serious problem with alcohol.
"I think deep down
I've known that I've had an issue for a long time, unfortunately, it took my
arrest to determine that. I am filled with great shame and a lot of guilt
today," Nokes said.
Nokes has been on paid
administrative leave since August. He checked himself into a rehab program just
days after this incident occurred. His employment status is now being reviewed
by the Winooski city manager.
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