Nicholasville resident and professional baseball player Austin Kearns has pleaded not guilty to a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol. Kearns’ attorneys, Brent Caldwell and Noel Caldwell, entered the plea on behalf of Kearns on Thursday morning in Jessamine District Court.
The charge stems from an incident off U.S. 68 in Jessamine County early on the morning of Feb. 12 when Kearns, 30, was pulled over by an off-duty Lexington police officer and then arrested by Jessamine County sheriff’s deputy Todd Sponcil.
The sheriff’s report stated Kearns was “flashing his headlights and weaving” before stopping the Cadillac Escalade he was driving and taking off again, at which point the Lexington officer stopped the vehicle.
After Sponcil arrived on the scene, Kearns allegedly told the deputy he had drunk “a couple bourbon and cokes” in Lexington. He refused field sobriety tests and reportedly asked Sponcil to “cut him a break” since he played professional baseball.
Kearns’ attorneys also entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf to a second charge, driving without insurance.
Kearns went to high school at Lafayette High School in Lexington. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 1998 and played in Cincinnati from 2002 to 2006. He split time between the Reds and the Washington Nationals during the 2006 season and then stayed with the Nationals through 2009. He split time between Cleveland and the New York Yankees last year before signing with the Indians during the offseason.
Kearns lives on Eagle Drive in Nicholasville, according to the report, and also has a residence in Sarasota, Fla.
Following the not-guilty plea Thursday morning, a pretrial conference was scheduled for April 19 at 9 a.m. in Jessamine District Court.