illness

Hunter cleared in DUI

Published 12:03am Friday, March 22, 2013

A Covington County jury found a south Florida man not guilty of a DUI charge earlier this week.

Defense attorney Riley Powell said Jeremy David Sands of Wellington, Fla., was on a hunting trip to Covington County with friends when he was charged.

After hunting together all day, the group went to Soggy Bottom bar to celebrate their successes. The defendant was the designated driver.

Powell said testimony showed that Sands, who weighs approximately 325 pounds, drank three beers over the course of the night – the first at 6:30 p.m.; the second at about 8 p.m. and the third at approximately 10:30 p.m.

The group left the bar at 1 a.m., and Sands drove them to their lodging on Twin Pines Road, off of Hwy. 29 in Gantt. Sands had never been to the house and missed the turn. When turning around, Powell said, a state trooper, Rodney Law from Conecuh County, pulled Sands over.

Law testified that his radar showed Sands was driving 61 mph in a 55 mph zone, Powell said.

The trooper testified that he was patrolling in Covington County because troopers assigned to Covington County had requested back-ups to saturate the county. Sands was given seven field sobriety tests, several of which he passed to the officer’s satisfaction.

However, he was charged with DUI and transported to the Covington County Jail.

Powell said Sands had chewing tobacco in his mouth when he was given a breath test at about 4 a.m. The test showed a blood alcohol contest of 0.11. Sands and two eyewitnesses testified that a 0.11 was an absolute impossibility given the amount of alcohol he had consumed over an eight-hour period of time, especially given his body weight.

Powell said Sands was tested again four hours later, at 8 a.m., and had a blood alcohol content of 0.00.

“The State brought the head of Alabama’s Department of Forensic Sciences, Breath-Testing Division, Dr. Gregory Turner, to testify about the validity of the Draeger

Breath testing machine— its absolute perfection– and inability to make a mistake or report a false positive reading,” Powell said.

Powell said the defendant, a CDL driver, was in dire danger of losing his job if he had been convicted.

The jury deliberated almost two hours before finding Sands not guilty.

“I am extremely proud of this Covington County jury for being intelligent and brave enough to do the right thing,” Powell said.

Lee Enzor prosecuted for the state.

 

  • Byron B. Mathews Jr.

    I read with interest this article about a DUI trial in Covington County. I was astounded to read that: “The State brought the head of Alabama’s Department of Forensic Sciences, Breath-Testing Division, Dr. Gregory Turner, to testify about the validity of the Draeger Breath testing machine— its absolute perfection– and inability to make a mistake or report a false positive reading,” Powell said.

    As everyone knows, there is not a machine made that is perfect. The Draeger Alcostest 7110 MKIII is the breathalyzer machine used by the State of Alabama for measuring Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). The Draeger machine uses a computer source code to generate BAC levels. When forced to produce this code in a NJ case, it was discovered by computer experts that there were 19,400 potential errors in the machine’s source code. http://www.totaldui.com/news/articles/breathalyzer/source-code.aspx.

    Additionally, measurements of BAC by the Draeger machine are based on an “average” person and false positives can result from outliers such as body weight, height and body mass, etc. False positives can also result from exposure to chemical compounds or environments that contain these chemical compounds. Finally, the software that operates these machines requires strict adherence to testing sequences by the person conducting the breathalyzer test. http://www.bobkeeferlaw.com/library/Alabama_Draegor_Alcotest_Manual.pdf

    Congratulations to the Covington County jury that didn’t fall for the lie that there is a machine that is 100% infallible.

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