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Man charged in fatal Wisconsin car accident challenges testing

A Wisconsin man who was arrested on multiple charges of drunk driving and vehicular homicide is trying to get the results from his alcohol testing thrown out. The man, who was previously a bishop in the Lutheran church, allegedly drove while drunk and hit a woman who was out for a run. She did not survive the fatal car accident.

The man is charged with multiple felonies, including homicide while driving drunk. Officers claim that, after hitting the woman, he continued to drive away. He was later found at a gas station close by.

Police administered a field sobriety test, which the man failed. He was then given a breath test, which showed his blood alcohol level to be well over the legal limit. After his arrest, the man was taken to a local hospital where he was given a blood test to determine alcohol use. Test results have not been released publicly.

This is the former bishop’s second attempt to have his blood test results declared invalid. The first time he argued against the constitutionality of implied consent for the blood draw. He claimed his blood sample was taken against his will.

His most recent attempt centers on his assertion that police did not have an adequate reason to stop him. He further claims that, once stopped, the officer did not have a reason to assume he was driving drunk. He says he never gave consent for the testing, which makes it inadmissible and unable to be used as evidence. A trial to determine the validity of his claims is set for next spring.

As the man works his way through the legal system, the family of the woman killed in this tragic car accident is attempting to deal with their grief. They may want to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit in Wisconsin’s civil court. Although it is impossible to make up for the loss they have suffered, a successful suit may give them the means to handle any associated costs and lessen their pain and suffering.

Source: Wisconsin State Journal, In the Spirit: Drunken driving homicide case against the Rev. Bruce Burnside set for hearing this week, Doug Erickson, Dec. 9, 2013

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