MOUNDSVILLE - Moundsville police charged Marshall County Assessor Christopher Kessler with driving under the influence of alcohol late last month after the car he was driving struck another vehicle in the Walmart parking lot.
A police report obtained by The Intelligencer shows that officers responding to the Saturday, Oct. 26 accident transported Kessler to the Marshall County Sheriff's Department, where he refused to undergo a breathalizer test. Kessler then was taken to Moundsville Police Department headquarters, where officers cited him for DUI and released him to a responsible party.
Police Chief Tom Mitchell said it is common practice for officers to release a first-time DUI offender.
"We towed his vehicle and released him just as we would any other first-time offender," Mitchell said.
Kessler, 51, of McMechen pleaded guilty to the charge Nov. 5 before Marshall County Magistrate Mark Kerwood. He said he has applied for the DUI deferral program for first-time offenders.
"I just want to sincerely apologize for my actions," Kessler said. "I take full responsibility for them and I truly recognize the seriousness of this offense. I will do what it takes to make sure it never happens again."
"Words cannot express my regret," he continued. "I did not live up to the standard expected of me and I expect of myself. Maybe God gave me a wake-up call. I will find the answers to make amends. I will abide by the restrictions and stipulations imposed by the court."
"I received no special treatment from the arresting officer and I respect him for the professionalism he displayed."