ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS
Defendant moves to exclude evidence of the blood alcohol test
and his statements. He argues there was insufficient probable
cause to request defendant to take a test and that
defendant's statements used in the probable cause
determination were not voluntary. For the following reasons,
the motion is denied.
Peter Anderson has worked for the Cumberland County
Sheriff's Office since 2005. He trained at the Maine
Criminal Justice Academy and his training included detection
of impaired drivers.
April 23, 2016, at approximately 11;00 p.m., he was on duty
in uniform and a marked cruiser. He was dispatched to a
personal injury motor vehicle crash on the Mayo Road. The
crash involved a motorcycle and as many as three vehicles.
Eventually a total of three marked cruisers arrived at the
arrived, Deputy Anderson saw a damaged motorcycle in the
right ditch. A white Ford truck with very heavy front end
damage had veered off the left side of the road and hit a
tree. The truck was totaled, Defendant, identified as the
owner and operator of the truck, was standing beside the
truck. Deputy Anderson noticed defendant's hands were
bleeding and he was extremely shaken up. Deputy Anderson
smelled a strong odor of intoxicants coming from
defendant's facial area as the two spoke. Defendant's
eyes were bloodshot and glassy and he was a bit unsteady on
his feet. Defendant stated he was pretty shaken up because he
took a hard hit when the truck hit the tree.
was aware that the other officers left to find the driver of
the motorcycle. If defendant had tried to leave, Deputy
Anderson would have stopped defendant, although that was not
told to defendant.
stated further that he and a friend had been at the
Eagle's Club in New Gloucester and left together.
Defendant's friend was driving a motorcycle in front of
defendant. Defendant admitted the two were playing around and
driving much too fast for the road. At the top of a knoll,
defendant's friend slowed or stopped. Defendant swerved
to avoid the motorcycle but hit it and then hit the tree.
Defendant stated his friend was pretty angry and left the
Peterson asked if defendant had been drinking. He said he had
had two 32 ounce pitchers of beer at the Eagle's Club. He
began drinking at 5:30 p.m. and drank the second pitcher one
hour before he left the club. Deputy Peterson next asked
defendant to rate himself on a scale of one to ten with one
representing stone cold sober and ten representing falling
down drunk. Defendant stated he was a four.
Anderson requested that defendant perform field sobriety
tests. Defendant replied that he was very shaken by the crash
and the truck's hard impact with the tree. Deputy
Anderson asked if defendant would submit to a blood test.
Defendant stated he would do anything that was needed. An
officer from Gorham eventually arrived and administered the
Anderson and defendant walked to the ambulance when it
arrived. Defendant was not in handcuffs and was very
cooperative. The rescue personnel checked defendant and his
friend, who had returned. Defendant signed off and was not
taken to the hospital.
Cause for Test
probable cause standard for requiring a person to take a
blood alcohol test has a very low threshold." State
v. Webster, 2000 ME 115, ¶ 7, 754 A.2d 976.
Defendant admitted driving dangerously, which resulted in the
serious crash. Deputy Anderson smelled a strong odor of
intoxicants coming from defendant's facial area. His eyes
were bloodshot and glassy and he was unsteady on his feet. He
admitted drinking two 32-ounce pitchers of beer, drinking the
second pitcher one hour before he left the Eagle's Club.
Defendant rated himself on the sobriety scale as a four.
Deputy Anderson had sufficient probable cause to believe the
defendant was operating the truck while his senses were
"impaired however slightly" or "to ...