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DUI defendant claims low blood sugar caused fatal crash

In July 2011, a retired police officer was arrested for allegedly driving drunk and causing a fatal crash that took the lives of two motorcyclists. After the accident, the officer refused to take a blood alcohol test, instead asking for his attorney. Earlier this week, as the officer testified in his defense during his vehicular homicide trial, he said that he wished he would have taken a breath or blood test, because he believes that doing so would have proved that he was not intoxicated.

Because, the officer says, it was not alcohol that caused him to lose control of his vehicle on the day of the fatal accident. It was low blood sugar, later diagnosed as hypoglycemic tendencies, which caused him to lose consciousness behind the wheel. And while he says that he deeply regrets the tragic accident, he maintains that he did not knowingly engage in the irresponsible and illegal behavior of which he is accused. "I was not intoxicated," he maintained in court.

According to court documents, the retired officer had previously experienced episodes of low blood sugar, but doctors had largely dismissed his symptoms. About six months after the crash, however, a doctor diagnosed him with hypoglycemic tendencies resulting from a gastric bypass surgery a few years prior. The problem was found to be serious enough to justify the revocation of the officer's driver's license.

However, the officer admitted that he had been drinking on the day of the crash, consuming about 24 ounces of beer and two ounces of vodka - probably not enough to incapacitate him, but possibly enough to contribute to his condition. As such, it remains to be seen whether the officer will be convicted of vehicular manslaughter, or whether the jury will find that he was not responsible for the crash.

Source: Express-Times, "Retired cop's doctor says low blood sugar fueled fatal wreck, not alcohol," Sarah M. Wojcik, Dec. 7, 2012

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