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W.Va. man says Ranson DUI charge was wrong

March 30, 1997

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer, Charles Town

RANSON, W.Va. - A Harpers Ferry, W.Va., man filed a lawsuit in Jefferson County Circuit Court last week claiming he was wrongly pulled over and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.

The lawsuit by John I. Williams seeks an unspecified amount in damages against Cpl. Brian Mason and the Ranson town government.

Chief William Roper declined to comment on the legal action, saying he had not been served with the papers yet.

According to the suit, Williams was pulled over on Sept. 19, 1996, for allegedly making a right turn without using a turn signal.

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The lawsuit states the officer administered a field sobriety test - which involves walking a straight line - despite Williams' protest that he had recently undergone knee surgery.

Williams was taken to the sheriff's department where he blew into a device that measures the alcohol level in the bloodstream, the lawsuit said. Williams' reading was .034, the suit says. West Virginia law uses a .10 reading to merit a DUI charge, state police said.

Williams was charged with second-offense driving under the influence, although he had no prior conviction, the suit said. He was taken to the Eastern Regional Jail.

On Dec. 12, 1996, the DUI charge was dismissed by the Jefferson County prosecutor's office, the lawsuit stated.

The lawsuit claims that the arrest was without probable cause and violated his rights under the U.S. and West Virginia constitutions.

As a result of his arrest, Williams' suffered emotional and mental distress and humiliation and damage to his reputation, the lawsuit said.

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