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Victim of crash wrongfully accused of being intoxicated

Though most law enforcement officers will perform their duty when it comes to upholding the law, not all of them prove to be so diligent. One Sheriff in a neighboring state drove through a stop sign and crashed into a woman's vehicle. The 25-year-old woman broke her neck in four places and is looking at medical expenses that could exceed $1 million.

Yet the woman who was the victim of this crash was the one arrested for alleged drunken driving. Some other law enforcement officers upon the scene claimed that they could detect a slight odor of alcohol upon her breath. She apparently did admit to having a few sips of alcohol. However, her injuries prevented her from having a breath test conducted at the scene where the crash took place.

The officer that crashed into a woman filed a police report where he claimed to have come to a complete stop. This would have made the woman appear at fault. However, blood tests taken following the accident showed that the woman was sober. The police report also claimed that the headlights of the woman's car were not on, but evidence was shown that she was driving a vehicle where the headlights turned on automatically.

If this was not bad enough video evidence later was discovered showing that the law enforcement officer never made a complete stop at the intersection. And though law enforcement authorities discovered the presence of the video two days after the accident, no one informed the victim of the accident concerning this evidence. It took several months before the prosecutor finally dropped the case against her.

One commentator speaking about this case felt that observations of individuals arrested in other DUI cases may have to be questioned. Here deputies claimed to see signs of intoxication in an individual that was sober.

It is clear that we cannot presume guilt based upon unreliable testimony or evidence. We need to wait until all of the evidence is in before anyone should be found guilty.

Source: The Washington Post, "But for video: Wisconsin deputy badly injures woman in crash, attempts to blame victim," Radley Balko, May 5, 2014

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