Colorado

Dec 11, 2009 10:12 PM by Nicole Vandeputte

Mistake shows DUI tests were wrong

82 DUI tests in Colorado Springs were recorded wrong. Those tests show higher blood-alcohol levels than the suspects really had.

In mid November, the Metro Crime Lab in Colorado Springs discovered the mistake while going through blood tests used for DUI cases. They began retesting a thousand blood samples taken over the last year.

Lt. David Whitlock with Colorado Springs Police says, "We are still going through the process. That number may climb. It's a very unfortunate circumstance, certainly regrettable. We wanted to get out in front of it, and explain to the community that we're being accountable for our error."

The Metro Crime Lab is used by several local law enforcement agencies, including Fountain police, and the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

That lab is also used for testing DNA, and other materials that could be used in court cases. Lt. Whitlock says none of that is affected. It is just the blood taken for DUI cases in the last year.

He says they have ruled out a problem with the computer. They are now investigating whether it is human error. Colorado Springs Police and CBI are both investigating.

El Paso County District Attorney Dan May says it's still to early to tell how this will affect DUI cases. "It's certainly something you don't want to see. It's unfortunate. You want things to be accurate from the lab." says May.

He says, so far, the re-tests still show blood-alcohol levels above the legal limit, so it doesn't change the charges. "If it hasn't been retested," he says, "I've told my people not to use it in any way shape or fashion, whether for bond or trial. We are not going to trust the accuracy until it is retested."

A hotline will be set up through the District Attorney's Office next week from December 15 - 18. If you think you might be affected by this, you can call to have them investigate. That number is 520-6265.

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