Searsport coach says OUI arrest a life lesson

Posted Aug. 26, 2008, at 11:08 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 7:18 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — David Pepin likely has imparted many lessons during his years of coaching high school athletics in the area.

Now, he hopes to use his own recent personal setback as another valuable teaching tool.

Pepin, 44, pleaded guilty Tuesday in 3rd District Court to operating under the influence of alcohol and was sentenced to 72 hours in jail under Penobscot County’s alternative sentencing program for first-time offenders. He also must pay a fine of $600 and will lose his driver’s license for 90 days.

For the Searsport varsity baseball coach who led his team to Class C state titles in 2006 and 2008, he considers the matter closed.

“I want to put it behind me,” Pepin said shortly after his brief court appearance. “I’ve always accepted full responsibility for my actions, and I’m eager to get back coaching.”

Pepin was driving on Route 1A in Holden in the early morning hours of May 31 when an officer pulled him over on suspicion of drunken driving. The Newport native reportedly failed field sobriety tests and was arrested after refusing to take an Intoxilyzer test to determine his blood-alcohol level.

The coach pleaded not guilty to the charge in late July in order to have time to work out an agreement, but his attorney, Joshua Tardy of Newport, said his client has always accepted responsibility.

“He’s relieved to have this behind him and have the opportunity to learn from his mistakes,” Tardy said at the courthouse.

Pepin, who also has coached area high school basketball teams, said his arrest is a life lesson he plans to take with him to the coaching sidelines.

“I actually was able to speak to my [baseball] team shortly after this happened,” he explained. “I told them that it was embarrassing for me and for my family, but I wanted to show them that it could happen to anyone.”

Pepin also issued a public apology not long after the incident and served a self-imposed suspension of two games.

As far as he knows, Pepin said, he will be asked to return as baseball coach in Searsport, where he led his team to consecutive eastern Maine championships in 2006, 2007 and 2008. However, because coaching contracts at that school are awarded on a yearly basis, he won’t know for sure until January.

Pepin had been coaching the Hermon High School boys basketball team for the previous three seasons, but his contract has not been renewed. He coached varsity girls basketball in Hermon from 2002 to 2004.

Under his plea agreement, Pepin will serve his 72-hour jail sentence under an alternative program for first-time offenders that allows him to be jailed over a weekend without spending the night in a cell. Instead, they might stay at a local school or other public building and paint or do minor repairs but would not be allowed to leave the facility voluntarily.

His sentence will be stayed until October, according to Tardy.

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