This happened in Clark County, Nevada, where a police officer was driving 109 mph without his lights and sirens on when he crashed into a truck. The officer died, but the guy who drove the truck is being charged with DUI even though his blood alcohol level was less than half the legal limit.
In the moments before officer James Manor plowed into a pickup attempting a left turn, he was driving his patrol car 109 mph without flashing lights or siren, Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie said Wednesday.
The speed was the equivalent of traveling the length of a football field in about two seconds. It gave Manor little time to avoid hitting Calvin Darling’s truck May 7. At the time of impact, after braking and trying to steer out of the way, Manor was still driving 90 mph.
Gillespie called Manor’s speed in the 45-mph zone on Flamingo Road “excessive and unsafe,” even if his lights and siren had been on. The facts of the accident probably will alter the charges Darling faces, the sheriff said.
But despite saying that they are now “looking at the original charges” the sheriff is defending the DUI charge:
Darling, 45, was arrested for driving under the influence and failing to yield to an emergency vehicle. Gillespie said he couldn’t see Darling facing the latter charge because Manor’s lights and siren were off…
The sheriff also maintained that Darling’s arrest for driving under the influence was valid. It wasn’t yet known whether Darling was indeed under the influence.
“He told the officers he had been drinking, and he failed a DUI field test,” Gillespie said.
A little over an hour after the accident, a blood test showed Darling had a blood-alcohol level of 0.035, well below the legal limit of 0.08. A second test an hour later showed his level had dropped to 0.021.
A DUI field test means absolutely nothing if someone takes a blood test and it shows they were nowhere near the legal limit. If he tested at .035 an hour later, there’s no way he was legally drunk when the accident took place. The police need to drop all charges and hope to hell this guy doesn’t sue the department.