This case involves a ruling of the Court wherein the motion to suppress the blood test of the defendant on the ground that the court order and supporting affidavit are defective was denied.
A car accident occurred in Bayvile Avenue in the Incorporated Village of Bayville between two vehicles. The responding officer, who arrived at 2:22 A.M., noticed that the defendant was the driver of the overturned car and had some facial lacerations in the vicinity of the forehead and one of his cheeks. The other car was a red car who sustained severe damages in the front and passenger side which led to the wrongful death of one of the passengers. Drivers of both passengers were transported to the community hospital. Police officer arrived at 2:55 A.M. Upon inquiry, defendant said to the Police Officer that he was originally heading westbound on Bayville Avenue." The Police Officer then asked the defendant, "are you sure you were westbound or eastbound?" and "were you headed toward your parents' house or away from it?" The defendant "finally said that he was heading towards his parents' house which was eastbound".
While talking with the Brooklyn defendant, the Police Officer noticed an odor of alcoholic beverages on defendant’s breath. He described the odor as moderate level which wasn’t overly strong but it was noticeable even the officer was two feet away during the conversation. The Police Officer told the defendant that he is being placed under arrest for suspicion of driving while intoxicated. At 3:50 A.m., the Police Officer asked the defendant to submit himself to a chemical analysis of his breath. The defendant consulted his lawyer and thereafter refused to take the test. Following the refusal, which was about 4:20 A.M., efforts were made to get a court order. At approximately 5:30 A.M., a court order had been obtained and blood was taken from the defendant at 5:50 A.M.
The defendant was charged for Manslaughter in the Second Degree, Vehicular Manslaughter in the Second Degree, (two counts), Assault in the Second Degree, Vehicular Assault in the Second Degree, (two counts), and Operation of a Motor Vehicular While Under the Influence of Alcohol, (two counts). The defendant moved to suppress, (1) certain statements he made which he claimed were involuntary within the meaning of CPL 60.45 and (2) the results of the defendant's blood test.
The court held that (1) the moderate odor of an alcoholic beverage on the breath of the defendant coupled with (2) a head on two car collision on a two lane roadway divided by a double yellow line, and (3) the defendant's statements, (a) that he did not notice the other vehicle until it was in his lane and (b) that he was going west when in fact he was going east, sufficiently established a probable cause for the arrest of the defendant.
The Bronx Court further held that following the issuance of the court order, (5:27 A.M.) there was no unreasonable delay in the administering of the test (5:50 A.M.). And the time (2:20 A.M.) from the accident and the test refusal, (4:20 A.M.) to the drawing of the blood, (5:50 A.M.) from the defendant is not so remote as to make as a matter of law the results irrelevant to the central question of the defendant's blood alcohol count at the time of the accident. Accordingly, the motion to suppress the results of the defendant's blood test on this ground was denied.
Moreover, the court said that the purpose of the issuance of the said court order is only for the taking of blood from a designated person and there are no other variables or discretionary factors involved. From the Court's examination of the application and the order, all the requirements of Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1194-a were met. Accordingly, the motion to suppress the court ordered blood test of the defendant on the grounds that the court order and supporting affidavit are defective was denied.
The Court further noted that the defendant did not dispute that a court order was obtained and that he did not claim that he or anyone else demanded to see it. The Court notes that Section 1194-a of the Vehicle and Traffic Law does not require any showing of such an order to the defendant or the personnel performing the chemical test.
As to the statements made by the defendant at the hospital, the Court held that the defendant was not in custody, that the statements were voluntary, and that the matter clearly was still in the investigative stage. The Court further found that the defendant's statements were not obtained from him by any threats, force, improper conduct, undue pressure, by means of any promise or in violation of such rights as he derives from the constitutions of this State and the United States. Accordingly, the motion to suppress defendant’s statements was denied.