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Opportunity House director pleads guilty to DWI

The executive director of the Opportunity House spent a day in jail and paid a fine and court costs after pleading guilty last month to a charge of driving while impaired.

Kenneth Paul “Ken” Rhoads, 69, was pulled over by city police officer Kalani Shultis at 7:56 p.m. on Dec. 10, 2020, after the officer observed a vehicle not burning its headlights and weaving from side to side on Duncan Hill Road.

Once he emerged from his vehicle, Rhoads showed “strong slurring of speech (and) inability to stand up straight without almost falling over” and was “unable to complete roadside test due to being unable to track finger without stumbling on the roadside,” Shultis wrote in an arrest report, which also noted that he seized an Eddie Bauer flask containing drops of alcohol and a “Bootlegger” alcoholic beverage bottle that he found behind the driver’s seat.

When Rhoads refused to submit to a breath test, a magistrate granted Shultis’s request for blood to be drawn for analysis, according to a search warrant. The result showed a blood-alcohol reading of .175, more than double the presumed impairment level under state law, court records showed.

Rhoads was charged with a level two DWI because he had a previous conviction involving impaired driving within the past seven years, according to a sentencing report. After pleading guilty he was given a six-month suspended sentence, ordered to pay fines and court costs totaling $1,063 and ordered to jail from 8 a.m. June 30 until 8 a.m. the next day.

Rhoads and his attorney had been fighting a lawsuit brought by the Community Foundation of Henderson County seeking a trial on whether the Opportunity House is continuing to operate as a nonprofit.