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  1. #1
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    2 Ohio State Troopers wreck, and die...Trooper driving had a BAC of .08%

    The Gallia County coroner revealed on Friday that one of the troopers involved in a fatal crash had alcohol in his system at the time of the autopsy.

    Sgt. Dale R. Holcomb, 45, and Trooper Joshua P. Risner, 29, died on Sept. 28 when their vehicle collided with a pickup and caught fire, NBC 4 reported.

    Coroner Dr. Dan Whitely said that according to an autopsy conducted two days after the crash, Risner's blood-alcohol content level was 0.08.

    The Ohio State Highway Patrol also released information about the events that led up the crash.

    Investigators determined that the patrol cruiser, driven by Risner, was traveling between 60 and 71 mph with its emergency lights and siren activated.

    Officials said the driver lost control, spun into the westbound lane and struck a Chevrolet Silverado being driven by 32-year-old Lori Smith. Smith was traveling between 10 and 20 mph and moving to the right of the approach of the cruiser.

    According to the patrol, Risner was approaching the end of his shift and had just picked up Holcomb at his home when the crash occurred. There was speculation that the officers may have been en route to assist an off-duty trooper.

    Smith, of Vinton, Ohio, also died. According to OSP, a blood test on Smith revealed trace amounts of marijuana in her system.

    "I think the law is made for all of us to obey. If we have to obey it, the troopers should, too. They did not, and now my mother is not going to get to see her children grow up, much less her grandchildren. I would like to see justice, but there's not going to be any justice. They could give me $25 million, and it would never bring back my mom. It was bad enough that they were going a high rate of speed, but this is even worse. I can't even talk about it," said Tiffany Dodds, Smith's daughter.

    Holcomb was a 21-year veteran, and Risner was a seven-year veteran of the post who followed in the footsteps of his father, a retired trooper.

    OSP officials said they launched a separate investigation to determine when and where Risner could have ingested alcohol.

  2. #2
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    Damn! Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. It is a no win situation, there will probably be several heads that roll over this.

  3. #3
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    Yes there are times we bring it on ourselves. Here the driver deserves it, drinking on duty?!?!

    My thoughts and prayers to the family. My disgust to the driver, (sorry)
    "An Unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it." Jeff Cooper


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  4. #4
    121Traffic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terminator View Post
    "I think the law is made for all of us to obey. If we have to obey it, the troopers should, too. They did not, and now my mother is not going to get to see her children grow up, much less her grandchildren. I would like to see justice, but there's not going to be any justice. They could give me $25 million, and it would never bring back my mom. It was bad enough that they were going a high rate of speed, but this is even worse. I can't even talk about it," said Tiffany Dodds, Smith's daughter.
    Good to see that she's settled on a nice round number. It might not bring back her mom, but I'm sure she'll enjoy the nice shit she'll be able to buy.

    Don't get me wrong, I ain't on the drunk trooper's side. I just don't like being lumped in with him like this lady did in her above quote. She's basically blaming all cops for this one guy's actions.

    RIP to the Sgt., who just seems like he was starting out his shift and getting a ride to the office.
    "If anything worthwhile comes of this tragedy, it should be the realization by every citizen that often the only thing that stands between them and losing everything they hold dear... is the man wearing a badge." -- Ronald Reagan, in the wake of the deaths of 4 CHP troopers in the Newhall Incident, 1970

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  5. #5
    gozling's Avatar
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    such a tragedy
    http://www.allpoetry.com/Grunts%20Girl

    We dallied under
    Vine maples and sapling alders
    Searched for lady slippers
    But instead
    Found blackberry riots and
    Desiccated branches

    An old skid road
    Brought ghost ferns and
    Hollows filled with
    Skunk cabbage
    While waves wrapped
    Intricate lacings of weeds
    'Round mule spinners

    His cyanotic eyes
    Were hard enough to make
    The sun turn tail and
    Tender enough to attract me
    To his world of illusion

  6. #6
    10-42Adam's Avatar
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    All I can ask is "What were they thinking?"

    They made a fatal mistake, now it makes every cop look bad...
    Calm Like A Bomb...

    A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jewell View Post
    All I can ask is "What were they thinking?"

    They made a fatal mistake, now it makes every cop look bad...
    They meaning the Sgt. passenger too? Why are you lumping him in with the dumb fuck drunkard?
    "If anything worthwhile comes of this tragedy, it should be the realization by every citizen that often the only thing that stands between them and losing everything they hold dear... is the man wearing a badge." -- Ronald Reagan, in the wake of the deaths of 4 CHP troopers in the Newhall Incident, 1970

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  8. #8
    10-42Adam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 121Traffic View Post
    They meaning the Sgt. passenger too? Why are you lumping him in with the dumb fuck drunkard?
    If he had a BAC that high, don't you think you'd be able to tell he was drinking? Sitting a mere 2 feet away from him in the passenger, he had to atleast been able to smell it on his breath, don't you think? If the Sgt. had absolutelty no idea he was drinking, then I only feel bad for him.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jewell View Post
    If he had a BAC that high, don't you think you'd be able to tell he was drinking? Sitting a mere 2 feet away from him in the passenger, he had to atleast been able to smell it on his breath, don't you think? If the Sgt. had absolutelty no idea he was drinking, then I only feel bad for him.
    Tread carefully. You're calling the Sgt. here either one of two things: A complicitor or an incompetent. You're not a cop, so I won't hold it against you to much. But I am one. All I know is that one (two if you count the drunk) of my brothers is dead, and you're spitting on his otherwise untarnished memory. All that should be said about the Sgt. is rest in peace. Talk all the shit you want about the drunk driver, but back the fuck up off the Sgt. until you have some evidence indicating he has any fault here.

    Most of the drunks I and other LEOs here pull over are usually REALLY drunk. We are talking high teens, low 20s. Not saying that .08 is excusable, but BAC/BrAC is a function of more than just what you have consumed. Body weight/makeup, metabolism, elapsed time, food in the digestive tract ALL play a part in determining your BAC/BrAC. If the guy was a skinny kid, three beers in about an hour could get him to a .08, but you'd be hardpressed to really smell it on him if he's got gum, strong food breath, or the windows are rolled down.

    Bottom line is, no offense, but you're not really qualified to judge anyone involved based on your own inferences...especially ones not based on the information presented. Enough people in this society love to dance on the graves of dead cops, shouting to the mountains how crooked/wrong/dirty the dead cop was. I'm not going to be another in that crowd...especially when I have no evidence to support the claim.
    "If anything worthwhile comes of this tragedy, it should be the realization by every citizen that often the only thing that stands between them and losing everything they hold dear... is the man wearing a badge." -- Ronald Reagan, in the wake of the deaths of 4 CHP troopers in the Newhall Incident, 1970

    The opinions given in my posts DO NOT reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency. They are my personal opinions only, thereby releasing my agency of any liability, or involvement in anything posted under the username "121Traffic" on O/R.

  10. #10
    10-42Adam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 121Traffic View Post
    Tread carefully. You're calling the Sgt. here either one of two things: A complicitor or an incompetent. You're not a cop, so I won't hold it against you to much. But I am one. All I know is that one (two if you count the drunk) of my brothers is dead, and you're spitting on his otherwise untarnished memory. All that should be said about the Sgt. is rest in peace. Talk all the shit you want about the drunk driver, but back the fuck up off the Sgt. until you have some evidence indicating he has any fault here.

    Most of the drunks I and other LEOs here pull over are usually REALLY drunk. We are talking high teens, low 20s. Not saying that .08 is excusable, but BAC/BrAC is a function of more than just what you have consumed. Body weight/makeup, metabolism, elapsed time, food in the digestive tract ALL play a part in determining your BAC/BrAC. If the guy was a skinny kid, three beers in about an hour could get him to a .08, but you'd be hardpressed to really smell it on him if he's got gum, strong food breath, or the windows are rolled down.

    Bottom line is, no offense, but you're not really qualified to judge anyone involved based on your own inferences...especially ones not based on the information presented. Enough people in this society love to dance on the graves of dead cops, shouting to the mountains how crooked/wrong/dirty the dead cop was. I'm not going to be another in that crowd...especially when I have no evidence to support the claim.
    I think you have gotten the wrong impression of the kind of person I am. I don't blame you one bit considering it's hard to pick up feelings over the internet.

    Truth be told I was a sworn Police Officer up until about 2 months ago, not one at the moment, and plan on becoming one again within a couple of years for a bigger department. So I, too, feel like a brother has been lost in this situation. Believe me, I'm pro-cop through thick and thin and didn't mean to come across as a dick in my first comment if that's how it was percieved by you. Feel free to PM me with any questions regarding my police employment, I'd be happy to give you my history and hoped-for future.

    Drunk driving is just something I have no sympathy for, I guess. Years ago I had a cousin who was killed by a drunk driver along with three of her friends in her car. Since then I've literally watched it destroy my Aunt's life - she was everything to her. DUI's really have hit home since then since I've seen first hand the effects it has on people, so I have zero tolerance for it.

    The town I used to work for is a party town. I literally think 80% of the town is drunk on any given weekend. I dealt with drunks every night of the week. I broke up their fights, I saw their vehicles after they crashed them, I cleaned their piss and puke out of our prison cell at the station (well, my own prisoners puke and piss, that is!). But most of all, I called a ride or taxi for those who needed one. Every cop out there knows he or she can't change the world, but dammit for every drunk person I was able to get a sober ride home, I felt like a accomplished something.

    Let's face it, the officer behind the wheel made a poor decision. He knew better. Whether or not the Sgt. knew anything about it, well, that's another story. No, I don't know all the facts so I'm not going to act like I do. This is really a lose-lose situation here, so I can only hope for the best for them.
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  11. #11
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    Ummm, not to split hairs....but we don't know he was drunk...we know that his BAC was .08 after being drawn 60 hours later.

    Looks like the union is challenging the findings too.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDawg View Post
    Ummm, not to split hairs....but we don't know he was drunk...we know that his BAC was .08 after being drawn 60 hours later.

    Looks like the union is challenging the findings too.
    I might be wrong, but I don't see how his BAC could go UP after he died. The union is saying he didn't buy alcohol early on, but if he was an alcoholic, an .08 could be a maintenance level and that's why the Sgt didn't realize it. The BAC could have been quite a bit higher earlier.

    I'm not condemning, but I don't see trying to get around physical evidence either.
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    http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/316/7125/87

    Editorials

    Dead sober or dead drunk?
    May be hard to determine

    Assessing the validity of an alcohol concentration in a postmortem blood sample can be complex. Appreciating the difficulties, some experts challenged the result of 38 mmol/l (175 mg/100 ml) found in Mr Henri Paul, the driver of Princess Diana's car in her fatal car crash. In the current review of the Hillsborough football stadium disaster, by Lord Justice Stuart Smith, the meaning of alcohol concentrations in those deaths is also likely to be disputed. Although the technical aspects of measuring ethanol in body fluids are much the same in the living and the dead,1 the interpretation of results obtained from necropsy samples is confounded by several problems.

    The two most important are microbial alcohol production and alcohol diffusion from gastric residue or airways contaminated by vomitus. Distinguishing between alcohol ingestion in life and microbial production after death is a common problem.2 Within a few hours of death gut bacteria penetrate the portal venous system and, after about six hours, contaminate the systemic vessels.3 In the blood, glucose and lactate provide the substrates for microbial ethanol production by a pathway opposite to that of its catabolism in the living body.4 High environmental temperatures after death, terminal hyperglycaemia, terminal septicaemia, abdominal trauma, and severe trauma with wound contamination all provide particularly fertile conditions for ethanol synthesis.

    At room temperature blood ethanol values of around 33 mmol/l (150 mg/100 ml) can be reached in a few days, although more typically values are below 15 mmol/l (70 mg/100 ml).5 Disruption of the body of a severity commonly seen in aircraft accidents carries a high risk of postmortem alcohol production.6 The train driver in the Moorgate tube disaster, in London, had alcohol concentrations ranging from 4.4 to 17.4 mmol/l (20 to 80 mg/100 ml) in four blood samples, reflecting the erratic nature of this postmortem artefact. Collecting the blood sample into a tube containing fluoride will inhibit further alcohol production by micro-organisms but will not undo the damage already done.

    Given the seriousness of the problem and the potential legal importance of the analytical result, it is important that ethanol measurements in postmortem blood are corroborated by analyses of other body fluids. Vitreous humour from the eye7 and bladder urine8 are helpful here. Vitreous, which is easily obtained, is valuable because it is well protected from bacterial infiltration after death.9 Similarly, urine is useful because it normally contains little or no substrate for bacterial conversion to ethanol. Consequently, the presence of ethanol in vitreous and urine is a good indicator of alcohol consumption and its absence an indicator of artefact in the matching blood sample.10 After the USS Iowa explosion a blood ethanol concentration of 41.3 mmol/l (190 mg/100 ml) in one victim was discounted as postmortem artefact in the light of a negative urine result.11 A vitreous analysis was made on Mr Henri Paul and corroborated his blood alcohol result, but in the Hillsborough deaths no analyses of vitreous or urine were made, leaving the blood results open to contention.

    Postmortem diffusion of alcohol from stomach contents, or from airways contaminated with gastric material,12 is another confounding factor. Individuals dying soon after drinking may have significant amounts of unabsorbed alcohol in the stomach at the moment of death. Passive diffusion of alcohol from the stomach and small bowel, which is the mechanism of absorption in life, continues after death, artefactually raising blood ethanol concentrations in the heart and great vessels.13 Consequently, alcohol concentrations in blood from the heart and torso vessels may be significantly higher than in blood from peripheral vessels. These differences between sampling sites can exceed 400%.13 14 For this reason, necropsy blood samples should be obtained from a peripheral vessel, such as femoral vein, never from the heart or great vessels and particularly not from blood allowed to pool in the pericardial sac, chest cavity, or abdominal cavity.15

    Blood analysis for alcohol is the commonest request in forensic toxicology and is positive in around one third of all unnatural deaths.16 Good practice requires that the blood samples are taken from a peripheral vessel and that corroborating analyses are performed on vitreous as well as bladder urine, if it is available. Even then, interpreting the analytical results may be difficult and sometimes inconclusive.11 16 Distinguishing the dead sober from the dead drunk is not as simple as it may seem.

    Derrick Pounder , Professor of forensic medicine a
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  14. #14
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    Thanks, PDawg. I'd heard about this, but nothing detailed.
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    I thought it was interesting that major trauma to the body can also affect results.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDawg View Post
    The two most important are microbial alcohol production and alcohol diffusion from gastric residue or airways contaminated by vomitus. Distinguishing between alcohol ingestion in life and microbial production after death is a common problem.2 Within a few hours of death gut bacteria penetrate the portal venous system and, after about six hours, contaminate the systemic vessels.3 In the blood, glucose and lactate provide the substrates for microbial ethanol production by a pathway opposite to that of its catabolism in the living body.4 High environmental temperatures after death, terminal hyperglycaemia, terminal septicaemia, abdominal trauma, and severe trauma with wound contamination all provide particularly fertile conditions for ethanol synthesis.

    At room temperature blood ethanol values of around 33 mmol/l (150 mg/100 ml) can be reached in a few days, although more typically values are below 15 mmol/l (70 mg/100 ml).5 Disruption of the body of a severity commonly seen in aircraft accidents carries a high risk of postmortem alcohol production.6 The train driver in the Moorgate tube disaster, in London, had alcohol concentrations ranging from 4.4 to 17.4 mmol/l (20 to 80 mg/100 ml) in four blood samples, reflecting the erratic nature of this postmortem artefact. Collecting the blood sample into a tube containing fluoride will inhibit further alcohol production by micro-organisms but will not undo the damage already done.
    From what I read though, and what I remember from college biology, the environmental temperature has quite a bit of influence on growth of bacteria. Which is exactly why morgue's keep bodies in refrigerated areas, to slow the growth of bacteria and therefore deterioration of the body. I have no idea what the French did with Di's driver, but I doubt the officer's body spent much time in the heat or even room temperature. And at least surely not for several days. It's certainly not our policy to leave any body outside any longer than necessary.


    Quote Originally Posted by PDawg View Post
    Postmortem diffusion of alcohol from stomach contents, or from airways contaminated with gastric material,12 is another confounding factor. Individuals dying soon after drinking may have significant amounts of unabsorbed alcohol in the stomach at the moment of death. Passive diffusion of alcohol from the stomach and small bowel, which is the mechanism of absorption in life, continues after death, artefactually raising blood ethanol concentrations in the heart and great vessels.
    That says causes it is alcohol in the stomach can cause it, but probably wasn't the case according to the union.
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    This is a tragedy through and through. It's also a very hot topic right now with lots of armchair quarterbacking. I don't know if the trooper was impaired, i don't know if he was drunk, I know what the media says and I have never been a fan of the media. I would rather wait for the internal to be done before I lay blame. that being said, i know that when I took my oath, put on my uniorm and shield, I accepted the fact I'm held to higher standards than other members of soceity. I'm also a human being and I make mistakes, we all do,whether your a peace officer or not, people forget this on a regular basis. I think we need to let the families grieve, give them support they need and let all the facts settle. Thats just my opinion. When all the information is known and it was the troopers fault, then voice your opinions accordingly, I just don't think know is the time for that.
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    Well this information definitely puts a new twist on it. Regardless, my thoughts are with both Officer's families...
    Calm Like A Bomb...

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    Jewell, consider it water under the bridge then.

    I'm also of the mindset of not necessarily hanging the trooper driving too. But if he WAS drinking during shift, or prior to shift in an amount significant enough to give him a reading that high hours later, then he was a dumbfuck. Maybe he had problems, maybe he was trying to dig himself out of a hole, pull himself up by the bootstraps, I dunno. He might have been a great cop. RIP to him too though, as he was a brother, but I'm a firm believer in alcohol NEVER mixing with this line of work. It's a dumbfuck thing to do.

    "If anything worthwhile comes of this tragedy, it should be the realization by every citizen that often the only thing that stands between them and losing everything they hold dear... is the man wearing a badge." -- Ronald Reagan, in the wake of the deaths of 4 CHP troopers in the Newhall Incident, 1970

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  20. #20
    10-42Adam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 121Traffic View Post
    Jewell, consider it water under the bridge then.

    I'm also of the mindset of not necessarily hanging the trooper driving too. But if he WAS drinking during shift, or prior to shift in an amount significant enough to give him a reading that high hours later, then he was a dumbfuck. Maybe he had problems, maybe he was trying to dig himself out of a hole, pull himself up by the bootstraps, I dunno. He might have been a great cop. RIP to him too though, as he was a brother, but I'm a firm believer in alcohol NEVER mixing with this line of work. It's a dumbfuck thing to do.

    Well said. I agree 100%
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