Chavez pleads not guilty to second-degree manslaughter

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By Molly Haines

A local restaurant owner and former Owen County court security officer was arraigned in district court Friday following a fatal ATV accident June 21.
Mario Chavez, 42, is now charged with second-degree manslaughter, a Class C felony, and operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, aggravated circumstances, first offense. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
In addition to having his operator's license suspended pre-trial, Chavez was also placed under house arrest and will be subject to random drug and alcohol tests. He is expected back in Owen District Court Friday, July 5, for a preliminary hearing.
During the arraignment, Owen County Attorney Josh Smith requested revocation of Chavez's passport. Citing Chavez's "significant ties" to the community, Judge Elizabeth Chandler denied the request.
Chavez was the driver in an ATV accident on Old Landing Road that severely injured 73-year-old Patricia Karsner.
An Owen County Sheriff's deputy reported that Chavez smelled like an alcoholic beverage following the accident, according to his arrest citation. He was later administered a preliminary breath test that revealed a blood-alcohol level of .149, nearly twice the legal limit.
Karsner died later that evening at the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center from injuries sustained in the crash.