A Bowling Green man admitted guilt Tuesday for his role in a crash that seriously injured a Warren County sheriff’s deputy.
Derek Cordell, 35, pleaded guilty in Warren Circuit Court to charges of second-degree assault, first-degree wanton endangerment, two counts of first-degree criminal mischief and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence.
Cordell was behind the wheel March 9 of a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado that crashed head-on into a cruiser driven by Deputy Phillip Gaines on Upper Stone Road.
Gaines was returning from a call for service at the time of the crash. He had to be extricated from his vehicle and spent nearly a month at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, where he was treated for injuries that included fractured ribs, a partially collapsed lung and fractures to his left arm, left leg and pelvis, according to court records.
Deputy Jonathan Clark, who was following Gaines, reported that Cordell’s truck was traveling at a high rate of speed when it crossed the center line.
A witness at the crash scene reported that Cordell appeared to be impaired when she checked on him, and Cordell later admitted drinking whiskey at a friend’s house prior to the crash, according to his arrest citation.
“I asked Cordell how much he had to drink and he advised ‘too much,’ ” Kentucky State Police Trooper Bartley Weaver wrote in Cordell’s arrest citation.
Gaines, who has spent 17 years with the sheriff’s office, returned to work Sept. 14.
Warren County Sheriff Brett Hightower said Gaines is on “modified duty,” which entails taking on responsibilities on the business side of the sheriff’s office.
“He’s been an asset for us with tax season,” Hightower said. “We’ve been able to retrain him to help with the business office. It’s not extremely physical, but it’s something he can do to get him back to work with his fellow employees.”
Gaines underwent multiple surgeries in the month after the crash, and his spring and summer were spent recovering at home with the help of a nurse and a physical therapist.
Hightower said Gaines is continuing physical therapy.
“He suffered pretty significant injuries to an arm and a leg, and we’re taking it month to month,” Hightower said.
Cordell, who has been in the Warren County Regional Jail since his arrest, accepted a plea agreement that recommends a 15-year prison sentence. He is scheduled to return to court for sentencing Dec. 22 by Warren Circuit Judge Steve Wilson.
– Follow courts reporter Justin Story on Twitter @jstorydailynews or visit bgdailynews.com.