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Man charged with DUI and manslaughter after pedestrian's death

Residents of Oklahoma may be interested to learn that a 44-year-old man has been taken into custody in Tulsa following investigation of an auto-pedestrian accident in late December 2013. That incident led to the death of a 74-year-old man who had previously been a Tulsa mayor candidate twice in the 1980s. According to the assistant district attorney for Tulsa County, the state waited until it had received the results of the man's blood testing before pursuing the drunk driving case against the defendant.

The incident in question took place Dec. 29 in the 5400 block of North Lewis Avenue in Tulsa. It is alleged that the defendant was intoxicated when his 1999 Chevrolet pickup struck the decedent and crashed into a nearby utility pole. Records show that the defendant has prior convictions for drug possession and weapons charges, and he has currently been charged with manslaughter, driving with a suspended license, driving under the influence and failure to carry insurance verification.

This case illustrates an important consideration that is sometimes omitted by similar DUI cases; while preliminary testing for intoxication, such as field sobriety and breath alcohol testing, is commonly performed on the day of the defendant's arrest, more in-depth chemical testing often takes several weeks or months to accomplish. Although officers often rely on preliminary testing to initiate DUI charges against a defendant, these may be wholly insufficient to secure a conviction.

While this defendant's record of prior convictions may work against him, there may still be various mitigating factors in his background that may alleviate the severity of the charges laid against him. An attorney may be able to cast doubt upon the prosecution's evidence if the case goes to trial, which could potentially convince prosecutors to negotiate a reduction of charges.

Source: Tulsa World, "Manslaughter, DUI charges filed in Tulsa death", Samantha Vincent, February 17, 2014

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