Gillispie leaves jail after DUI arrest

State Journal Staff Report Published:

Franklin County Jailer Billy Roberts said  former University of Kentucky men's basketball coach Billy Gillispie is probably the highest-profile person booked at the jail since he’s been there. Roberts has been jailer since November 2006 but has been employed at the jail since 1986.

“He sure drew a lot of phone calls and attention,” Roberts said late Thursday morning. “Probably 10 people called me wanting his autograph, but we wouldn’t do that.”

Gillispie, 49, was arrested on U.S. 127 at 2:45 a.m. when someone spotted a white 2009 Mercedes with Texas plates driving erratically.

He was pulled over near the Walmart Supercenter in Lawrenceburg – about 4 miles from the Franklin County line. He was driving toward Franklin County.

Gillispie told police he'd been golfing, and he refused to take a blood alcohol test or a breathalyzer.

A passenger, 42-year-old Charles O'Conner, was also arrested and charged with alcohol intoxication, the station reported. O’Conner left the jail with Gillispie and his attorney.

Roberts said he didn’t talk to Gillispie, but going by reports from his deputies, Roberts said Gillispie “was very polite and cooperated. He really didn’t say a whole lot. He complied with everything we ask him.

“He was never placed in a cell. He stayed in a passive booking room. He didn’t request anything.”

Roberts said he didn’t think his deputies “were star-struck. I think they treated him like anybody else. I hope they did. That’s what I would want them to do.”

He climbed into the back of a Jeep driven by his Louisville attorney, Darran Winslow, and left the facility without comment.

Most people exiting the local jail walk out a door. But Gillispie’s attorney was allowed to drive his black Jeep Wrangler into a secured sally port with two automatic doors – one for entering and the other for exiting – so Gillispie could avoid reporters and camera crews. The entrance door closed as soon the Jeep was inside.

Several minutes later, the exit door opened and Gillispie, a back seat passenger in the Jeep, was quickly driven away by Winslow. O’Conner was the front seat passenger.

When asked if Gillispie received preferential treatment exiting the jail, Roberts said, “he probably did just because of the way things were (with the media around). It was more of a security issue. It has been done in some other cases.”

Roberts said Gillispie was released on his own recognizance and he is scheduled to appear in Anderson County District Court on Sept. 23 at 9 a.m.

This is the third time Gillispie has been arrested on similar charges.

In 1999, he was charged with driving while intoxicated in Oklahoma, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving. In 2003, he was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, but police dropped the charges.

Gillispie was replaced by Memphis coach John Calipari this year after a rocky two-year tenure in which the Wildcats went 40-27. Last season's 22-14 mark tied for the second-most losses in the program's 106-year history.

Check state-journal.com for updates on this breaking story.

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