Thursday, February 4, 2010

Colorado invalidates 167 blood alcohol tests

A crime lab audit in Colorado Springs has turned up 167 blood alcohol tests in which the alcohol concentration was inflated. The audit was ordered by the Colorado Springs Police Department after a routine audit found 82 inflated test results back in December.

Auditors have retested about 1,000 samples on tests performed since January 2009.
“I can’t say anything definitive about the underlying cause. What has occurred is that we’ve narrowed it down to the point where we believe it is likely a human error. We believe very strongly that it’s not an equipment failure or something inherent in the lab itself.” -- Lt. David Whitlock, Colorado Springs Police Dept.
Colorado Springs defense attorney Timothy Bussey filed an open records request with the police department and received one document that indicated the problem may have been discrepancies in the concentration of n-Propanol used to test the blood samples.

Contrary to popular belief, blood tests are not the be-all and end-all when it comes to drunk driving cases. The testing procedures and protocols can be just as flawed as the pseudo-science behind the state's breath test machine. They are both subject to operator error.

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