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Elvis impersonator gets second chance, avoids prison in drug case

A federal judge in Oklahoma City put an Elvis impersonator on probation because of evidence he has overcome his own pain pill addiction and helped others to get treatment.
BY NOLAN CLAY Modified: September 9, 2010 at 5:03 am •  Published: September 9, 2010

A federal judge Wednesday gave a longtime Elvis impersonator four years on probation for selling prescription pain pills in March inside his Yukon diner to an undercover police officer.

The judge spared Darin Thrasher, 43, from any prison time because of evidence he has overcome his own pain pill addiction and helped others to get treatment. The judge said she was impressed he reached out to help others.

He also was not fined.

"I thank God. I thank God for this chance," Thrasher told The Oklahoman after his sentencing.

Thrasher came to court with the distinctive sideburns and haircut often associated with Elvis Presley, the late idolized singer who had his own problems with prescription drugs.

Thrasher was arrested March 23. He sought treatment for his addiction after his release from jail.

He told The Oklahoman he wants to help other addicts quit like he did with a miracle drug that he said, for him, stopped the cravings. He told The Oklahoman anyone needing help could come to his restaurant, now called Fat Elvis Diner in Yukon.

During the sentencing, he and his attorney told the judge the diner likely would have to close if he went to prison. They asked for leniency to save the diner and the jobs of seven employees. Thrasher told the judge in written statements he works 60 to 70 hours a week at the diner "and it's barely staying above water."

U.S. District Judge Robin Cauthron told him, "I am giving you what you've asked for, and that is a chance to prove that this is over and you can go forward."

She said her decision shows the community what can happen to someone who rehabilitates himself and tries to do the right thing.

Thrasher pleaded guilty in May to illegal distribution of the painkiller oxycodone.

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