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Drunk driving cases are not always what they seem

Circumstances can often mask a situation, even for trained investigators. A terrible crash on Interstate 70, a head-on collision between two vehicles. One driver killed, the other, a woman, left in a very strange condition. She was unconscious, but paramedics claimed she smelled of alcohol. And she was not wearing any pants.

She suffered a traumatic brain injury due to the collision and can only recall going out with coworkers for a few drinks that night. She remembered nothing of the rest of the evening, of two minor collisions that occurred prior to the fatal crash.

But nurses had done a sexual assault exam after she arrived at the hospital, as she had suffered bruising to her inner thighs which were suggestive of rape.

As with many "obvious" cases, the Highway Patrol appears to have performed a less than complete or even competent investigation. They jumped to the conclusion that she was drunk and killed a man. Done. Nothing further to investigate.

Her blood rode around with the trooper for two days. The crash occurred on February 25, but the blood was not refrigerated until March 6 and the test waited until March 12. During that amount of time, improperly stored blood could ferment and generate alcohol.

Her blood alcohol content was found to be 0.085, slightly over the legal limit, but given the shoddy handling of the blood prior to testing, it would be difficult to prove that those mistakes did not compromise the quality of the sample and accuracy of the test.

The blood test failed to find any evidence of a date rape drug, but since no one was looking for it, they may not have administered the proper test. It also failed to detect two drugs she had been given at the hospital, so reasonable doubt as to its accuracy again becomes reasonable. (cont.)

Source: lakeexo.com, "Jury said drunken driver caused fatal I-70 crash, but was she really a victim too?" Jennifer S. Mann, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 23, 2015

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