|Updated: 2/07/2012 5:07 pm
||Published: 2/07/2012 3:15 pm
PERRYVILLE, Ark. (AP) - A state senator pleaded no contest Tuesday to charges brought after he allegedly led law officers on a high-speed car chase through two counties early last year.
Sen. Bruce Holland, R-Greenwood, pleaded no contest to charges of fleeing, careless driving and improper passing during a court hearing Tuesday. He was assessed $890 in fines and court costs, and was ordered to perform 80 hours of community service, said Larry Jegley, who prosecutes cases for Perry and Pulaski counties.
After the hearing, Holland said he hopes to move on from the ordeal which has dogged him since his January 2011 arrest.
"I pled no contest and apologized, and I'm ready to get it behind me," Holland said by phone. He declined to comment further.
Holland was cited after he allegedly led officers on a chase through Perry and Yell counties at speeds that reached 100 mph. A deputy initially let him go with a scolding, believing Holland was immune from prosecution because of his office. But prosecutors later charged Holland and he was found guilty. Holland appealed his conviction, and a circuit court was due hear the appeal later this month, but the plea deal brought an end to the case. A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing purposes.
Jegley had said that Holland could have wound up going to jail if his appeal failed. On Tuesday, he said Holland's apology was meaningful.
"That gesture will go a long way to healing up some of the hard feelings over this whole incident. I say good for Bruce Holland," Jegley said. "I'm gratified Senator Holland did the right thing and took his punishment like a man and we can all move forward from here."
Holland was originally sentenced to 400 hours of community service, but Jegley said that was an error and was corrected in Tuesday's proceeding.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)