An off-duty police officer is facing serious charges following a series of crashes that occurred just after midnight on July 17, according to Las Vegas officials. The 39-year-old officer was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving by Nevada Highway Patrol. Officers believe that the man was involved in several car crashes they believe were predicated by the man being intoxicated at the time of the incidents.
On-duty troopers say they observed the man driving his SUV on the shoulder of Interstate 15 headed northbound before failing to stop at a stop sign when exiting the highway. After observing damage to the SUV that appeared consistent with an accident, the officer was pulled over. Troopers on the scene said they detected the smell of alcohol in the vehicle, although the man denied drinking.
Troopers conducted several roadside sobriety tests, all of which they say the officer failed. A subsequent blood alcohol test allegedly revealed the man had a .12 percent blood alcohol content, which is well above the legal limit of .08 percent. The man initially refused the test, prompting officers to obtain a search warrant for the blood draw. It was later suggested the man may have been responsible for no fewer than three hit-and-run crashes just prior to being pulled over.
Blood alcohol tests, when conducted in conjunction with a drunk driving investigation, are not always reliable. In the time it took Nevada authorities to obtain the search warrant, the man’s blood alcohol level could have changed considerably — he may not have been drunk at the time he was pulled over even if the alcohol later metabolized, rendering him in an intoxicated state. If the prosecution is unable to prove conclusively that the man was over the legal limit at the time of his arrest, some of the charges against him could be reduced or dropped.
Source: ktnv.com, “UPDATE: Bail set at $100K for officer accused in hit-and-run crashes“, Katherine Jarvis, Mahsa Saeidi, July 20, 2016