Warrants used to get blood tests of 41 drivers

PRE-LABOR DAY DUI CRACKDOWN

Wednesday, September 10, 2008 3:07 AM

By Theodore Decker

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Police used search warrants to obtain blood from 41 suspected drunken drivers in Franklin County during the build-up to Labor Day.

The warrants were sought if a motorist already in custody on suspicion of drunken driving refused a breath test, police said.

Columbus police used the same "no refusal" compliance policy during the July 3-5 holiday period. Search warrants were used to obtain blood samples from four suspected drunken drivers during that holiday weekend.

The 41 warrants this time were issued by on-call Municipal Court judges during a two-week stretch between Aug. 18 and Sept. 1.

Of those warrants, 23 were executed by Columbus police; seven by the State Highway Patrol; four by Grove City; three by Bexley; two by Westerville; and one each by Worthington and the Franklin County sheriff's office.

Sgt. Rich Weiner, a Columbus police spokesman, said the 41 people already were in police custody and had been charged when they refused the tests.

The results of the blood tests could take up to three weeks, but Weiner said police could file an additional charge depending on the blood- alcohol level.

Twice as many suspected drunken drivers initially refused to submit to a breath test after being arrested, police said. After being told that a search warrant for their blood would be sought, those drivers agreed to the test.

tdecker@dispatch.com

Read the article on the Columbus Dispatch site.