COFFEE COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) —Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett accepted a plea deal after he was charged with driving under the influence after attending the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Coffee County.
Hargett appeared in the Coffee County courtroom on Thursday, Oct. 13 and pleaded guilty for first offense of driving under the influence. He paid a $350 fine and attended DUI school in addition to having his driver’s license restricted for a year. He will drive his personal car for state business with an interlock system inside — also referred to as a car breathalyzer.
He pleaded guilty under a “best-interest” plea, which is also known as an Alford plea — where the defendant pleads guilty while maintaining factual innocence of the crime.
The Tennessee lawmaker shared the following statement Thursday morning:
Today I offered a best interest plea to the charge of DUI. My counsel believes I had a strong case to argue before the court, and I have been surprised by some events and actions during this experience. However, my desire is to accept responsibility for my actions and move forward and to focus on how God can use me to make something positive from this difficult time.
The last few months have been humbling and at times very dark for me. I am deeply grateful to my wife and family for their support. Additionally, I have been overwhelmed by the kindness, grace, and forgiveness offered to me by so many people. Your consideration and courtesy will always be remembered.
It is wrong to drive any vehicle under the influence of alcohol, and rest assured this is a mistake I will never make again.Tre Hargett
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According to court records, on June 18, an officer observed Hargett’s assigned state vehicle leaving Bar 315 in Tullahoma. The officer said he saw the vehicle ride on several lane markings while it traveled down Anderson Street, East Carroll Street and Wilson Avenue.
The officer stopped the vehicle and detected an odor of an intoxicant coming from Hargett and noticed that his eyes were glossy, according to an affidavit. Hargett reportedly kept repeating “yes sir” at inappropriate times, even when he had not been asked a question.
Records show Hargett performed poorly on several field sobriety tests, and a passenger inside the vehicle told the officer that he and Hargett had been drinking four hours earlier, prior to the traffic stop.
Hargett was booked into the Coffee County jail and released after posting $2,000 bail.
Following his arrest, the secretary of state released a statement saying that he regrets his actions.
“On Friday night after leaving the Bonnaroo Music Festival, I was stopped by the Tullahoma Police Department and subsequently arrested for DUI. Driving Under the Influence is a serious matter, and I regret the circumstances that led to my arrest. I respect law enforcement and will trust the legal process as we move forward.”Tre Hargett
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This is a developing story. WKRN News 2 will continue to update this article as new information becomes available.