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Burglary Puts DUI Cases at Risk

Burglary Puts DUI Cases at Risk

Posted - Sep. 9, 2003 at 5:30 p.m.



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Karen Scullin ReportingStolen evidence could mean 27 people arrested for driving drunk over the Labor Day weekend may not have to face any consequences because the evidence against them has disappeared.

Various police agencies throughout the Salt Lake Valley were targeting drunk drivers over the Labor Day weekend and a lot of the evidence from those cases has been stolen.

Leaving vials of blood unattended may have been a mistake, but it could be one that results in 27 cases of crime without punishment. Drivers caught in a D.U.I. crackdown over Labor Day may get a lucky break because Bryan Davis made a big mistake.

Bryan Davis, Metro Toxicology: “Got called out, came out, got busy for a second. And when I came out they were gone out of the car."

Twenty seven vials of blood in a lockbox were snatched from Davis' mini-van. Davis is a blood technician police agencies call to draw blood on certain D.U.I. cases.

The stolen batch included cases from Friday August 29th through Sunday August 31st. The cases belonged to various police agencies throughout the valley, but the majority were from the Utah Highway Patrol. The U.H.P. says they'll still taking the cases to the District Attorney.

Major Neil Porter, Utah Highway Patrol: “Our troopers go out there an make an arrest on probable cause. They have all the elements necessary for prosecution on a D.U.I. arrest even before they request a blood sample."

But now, there's no way to absolutely prove the blood alcohol content in the 27 cases in question. It has been determined there are no D.U.I. death cases that will be impacted. There is a possibility that some D.U.I. injury cases may be involved.

Kent Morgan, Chief Deputy District Attorney: “It basically cuts our ability to prosecute driving under the influence cases in half, by taking half of our evidence away."

Morgan says his office will prosecute with evidence that includes officer observation and failed sobriety tests. The U.H.P. says they will still use Davis' services, that in twenty years there's never been a problem with him. And Davis says he's learned a tough lesson.

Bryan Davis: “It's just an awful thing to have happened. I mean this is what I do. I control evidence for these particular dui investigations."

The lost blood samples also mean prosecutors will never know if there were other drugs in the system. As for why someone would steal blood, investigators believe they probably thought the lockbox contained money or other valuable items, not blood.

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