Former Central star pleads guilty to DUI

Former Central star pleads guilty to DUI

URBANA — Former Champaign Central High School basketball standout Verdell Jones III pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol last week on the eve of his departure for Greece to begin his professional basketball career.

Jones, 23, who listed an address in the 2400 block of Hampshire Drive, Champaign, was arrested by an Illinois State trooper in Champaign in the early morning hours of Sept. 2.

On Tuesday, the same day the misdemeanor DUI charge was filed, Jones, who played at Indiana University, pleaded guilty to the offense before Champaign County Judge Mike Jones and was sentenced to a year of court supervision.

That means if he successfully completes the period of supervision without getting into any further trouble, he'll have no record of a conviction.

Assistant State's Attorney Lindsey Clark said a state trooper noticed Jones speeding on Neil Street near William Street. When stopped, she said Jones was "completely cooperative" with the trooper and admitted he had been drinking.

She said he performed field sobriety tests and agreed to a breath test.

The results showed a blood alcohol level of 0.14 percent, well over the 0.08 percent at which Illinois motorists are presumed intoxicated.

Clark said in exchange for Jones' plea, she dismissed a ticket that alleged he was speeding more than 15 miles above the speed limit.

Clark had no objection to a request by Jones' attorney, Craig Hunt of Rantoul, that Jones be allowed to leave the country for employment.

He also will have to attend a victim impact panel and obtain a substance abuse evaluation.

Clark called the sentence typical of what someone would get for a first DUI that did not involve an injury.

"He had no tickets of any kind," in his past, she said. "He got the normal sentence."

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ROB McCOLLEY wrote on September 09, 2012 at 12:09 am
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Unfortunately and/or fortunately, this story proves something about drinking & driving: No matter how competent you feel at the time, and no matter how competent and focused you are; you'll regret driving after drinking.

areader wrote on September 09, 2012 at 5:09 am

This is ridiculous.  Whether any person drinks/drives and GETS STOPPED - the first time or the tenth time, that person is making the SAME STUPID MISTAKE to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking and think they are OK to drive!  Sometimes no one is hurt, other times not!  This man should not receive special treatment!  The court system is NOT slapping people with tickets, etc to DETER people from drinking and driving!