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Keith Williams

Husker receivers coach Keith Williams reads a prepared statement during a news conference in August after his arrest for a third DUI offense. 

ERIC GREGORY, Journal Star file photo

Nebraska wide receivers coach Keith Williams pleaded no contest to third-offense driving under the influence Wednesday afternoon.

A judge sentenced him to 30 days in jail and three years of probation and ordered him to pay a $1,000 fine.

Prosecutors asked that he do the time in jail rather than house arrest, noting that he did not serve jail time on previous drunken-driving convictions. The judge also revoked Williams' driver's license for five years, but he'll be able to drive with an ignition interlock.

But Lancaster County Judge Thomas Zimmerman gave Williams time to apply for house arrest before he reports for jail March 3.

If he doesn't get house arrest, he would have to serve 23 days with credit for good time. The Huskers begin spring practice March 4.

Williams' attorney, John Ball, said his client will apply for work release so he can continue coaching.

Lincoln police arrested Williams, 45, after a crash near downtown Lincoln on Aug. 14.

Police said his Chevrolet Camaro ran into the back of a pickup at Ninth and N streets about 1:50 that morning.

Initially the other driver just wanted to exchange information, but she called police after Williams said his car insurance provider was health insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield, police said.

Officers took him to detox, where his blood-alcohol level tested at 0.15 percent, according to police. The legal limit to drive is 0.08.

No injuries were reported, and damage from the wreck was minor.

Williams has two previous DUI convictions, one in 2009 in California and another in 2004, according to police.

In the most recent instance, prosecutors charged him with third-offense DUI and careless driving, and he was suspended for the first four games of the season.

In exchange for Williams' plea to the misdemeanor DUI offense Wednesday, prosecutors dropped the careless driving charge.

"He took this terrible situation for himself and turned it into a positive teaching moment," Ball said at sentencing.

Since the arrest, Williams completed 30 hours of counseling for substance abuse and family issues, Ball said.

That shows a level of commitment that makes him a good candidate for probation, Ball told Zimmerman.

Williams agreed with his attorney's comments and said he intends to learn from this.

Zimmerman said he found the coach a good candidate for probation and noted Williams has taken the "town by storm" since his arrival in 2015.

The offense is serious, said Zimmerman, but "I'm not here to lecture you."

"I know you can learn from this."

Ball called the sentence fair after the hearing, given all the remedial steps his client has taken.

"You do the right thing, you get treated the right way," the Lincoln attorney said.

A spokesman for the Nebraska Athletic Department said in a statement officials will continue to support Williams, who has accepted responsibility and acknowledged the seriousness of his actions.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or rjohnson@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.

Reporter

Riley Johnson reports on breaking news and public safety issues in Lincoln and southeast Nebraska.

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