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Motorist denies intoxication after fatal wreck

A 22-year-old man pleaded guilty to intoxicated manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident after he allegedly killed an off-duty police officer on July 21. However, on May 31, he informed jurors that he didn't believe he was guilty of drunk driving when the accident happened. The accused man allegedly rammed into the 25-year-old law enforcement officer after he left a bar. He could receive a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for both crimes if the court decides to run the sentences consecutively, 20 years for the manslaughter and 10 years for leaving the scene of an accident.

When he was arrested, his blood-alcohol-content level registered .086 percent, slightly over the legal limit. The prosecutor observed that he cooperated in giving a blood test and a breath test because he didn't think he was drunk. However, the accused man admitted that he was drinking, using meth and smoking marijuana between the hours of 5 p.m. and 3:30 a.m. on July 20 and 21 and while at the bar prior to the accident. He insisted he wasn't drunk and said he just felt tired. After he and his brother left the bar, they met his former girlfriend for fast food.

The prosecutor questioned him regarding the amount of substances in his system, but he thought he was capable of driving his brother's truck. When he drove through the intersection and hit the motorcycle, he defended himself by saying he misjudged the distance. He admitted that he panicked after the accident and went to his grandmother's home because he was afraid.

The accused man may face serious charges. A criminal defense lawyer might be able to protect his rights and attempt to fight for a reduced sentence.

Source: Star Telegram, "Driver says he wasn’t drunk in crash that killed off-duty officer", Mitch Mitchell, June 01, 2013

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