KOMO News reports that a 25-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to vehicular homicide at the King County Superior Court. The Washington State Patrol alleges that the man crashed his SUV head-on with a Mazda driven by a 58-year-old employee of the Eddie Bauer retail outlet. The woman later died of her injuries at the Harborview Medical Center while the man, who was injured in the leg during the accident, has been accused of drunken driving.
Law enforcement officials contend that he was driving home along Highway 520 after drinking with friends in Seattle and crashed into the Mazda after having initiated a U-turn and began driving the wrong way. Investigating officers located an empty whiskey bottle in his front seat. In addition, he had previously been charged with DUI in December; the trial for that charge was scheduled for this month.
DUI can be a subjective charge as an officer's suspicion alone often suffices to initiate an arrest. Preliminary alcohol screenings on the scene, such as the Breathalyzer and field sobriety tests, can enhance the officer's suspicion; however, both can be of dubious scientific veracity, and defendants are not required to take them. After arrest, police may require chemical testing of the blood, breath or urine to determine if BAC equals or exceeds .08 percent.
This man's not guilty plea may reflect the prosecution's lack of evidence to effectuate a DUI conviction. A strong DUI defense seeks to undermine accusations by examining the circumstances of the initial arrest. Testing equipment must be properly calibrated, and physiological conditions can cause officers to misinterpret a driver's behavior as impairment. In cases such as this, an experienced DUI attorney may be able to investigate the charges and represent the interests of the accused.
Source: KOMO news, "Not guilty plea in deadly wrong-way crash on Hwy. 520", May 09, 2013