Drugged Driver Faces Misdemeanor Charges in Fatal Crash

Drug Test Results Not Admissible In Court

Patrick Doerr, a 58-year-old-man from Sparta, MI, is facing two misdemeanor charges for his role in the deaths of two men from Traverse City. The charges, which come with a maximum sentence of one year in jail, are not enough, say the families of the two men who were killed.

The accident occurred on the morning of September 10th, 2013. Billy Kochis, 29, and John Pomeroy, 49, two friends and fellow Aflac Insurance Company employees, were traveling to Grand Rapids from their homes in Traverse City. They were south bound on US 131 at about 8 am, when traffic began to slow down. They were traveling at about 5 mph when they were struck.

According to Michigan State Police investigators, Doerr’s pickup truck slammed into the back of the Chevy Malibu at about 84 mph. It sent the car crashing into a line of backed-up traffic before it came to a stop on a guard rail.

Kochis and Pomeroy were both killed instantly in the crash. Doerr was taken to Mercy Health Saint Mary’s for his injuries. At the hospital he refused to take a blood alcohol test and requested an attorney. In conversation with Trooper Brad Popilek, he denied having fallen asleep at the wheel or having consumed any narcotics.

Popilek requested the magistrate on-call at the Kent County District Court to issue a warrant for the BAC test. However, he later testified during a civil deposition, that he told the magistrate that he had not noticed Doerr displaying any signs of intoxication. The magistrate denied the warrant at that point, most likely because of a lack of probable cause.

A urine test taken at the hospital later showed that Doerr had both opiates and cocaine in his system at the time of the accident. According to Assistant Kent County Prosecutor James Benison, the test results are not admissible in court. This is because the results were obtained without a warrant and the methods used did not conform to the legal standards set out for evidence collection.

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Posted in Drugged Driving, Drunk Driving News
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