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Oklahoma County accident leads to felony DUI charge

A 39-year-old Oklahoma man is facing a manslaughter charge in connection with a March accident in Oklahoma County. The felony DUI charge was filed against the man after a passenger in the vehicle that he hit succumbed to her injuries four months after the crash. The man is also facing eight counts of causing an accident while under the influence that resulted in great bodily injury.

Authorities say that the man took no evasive action before striking the rear of a stationary vehicle on North Western Avenue near Interstate 44. Responding police officers say that the man was unsteady on his feet, had red and watery eyes and slurred speech. They also said that they detected the odor of alcohol on him. After being taken into custody, the man allegedly refused to submit to a blood test to measure his blood alcohol level. He was later released from the Oklahoma County jail after posting bond of $50,000.

The man is the second employee of the Oklahoma County clerk's office to be involved in a drunk driving incident in recent years. Another was charged with driving under the influence in September 2013 after her vehicle struck a parked car. She was later sentenced to six months of probation.

Oklahoma residents convicted of felony DUI may face severe penalties, including a jail sentence of up to 20 years and fines of up to $5,000. However, the evidence relied upon by prosecutors in a drunk driving case does not always withstand close scrutiny. The toxicology tests used to establish a motorist's blood alcohol level may not be reliable in certain situations, and the conduct of law enforcement officers sometimes goes beyond the strict boundaries established by the U.S. Constitution.

Source: The Oklahoman, "Oklahoma County clerk employee charged with manslaughter in Oklahoma County," Matt Dinger, Sept. 19, 2014

Source: News9.com, "Oklahoma county court clerk employee charged with manslaughter after DUI", Adrianna Iwasinski, September 17, 2014

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