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Jefferson County schools official's attorney argues against DUI case in hearing

October 01, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- An attorney for the Jefferson County Schools transportation director, who was charged Feb. 12 with driving under the influence, hammered away at the state's case Tuesday in a hearing, saying that Robert Michael Boylan pulled over in a timely manner during the incident, was not slouched in his seat when a police officer approached him and was cooperative.

Defense attorney Harley O. Wagner also said it is not illegal to have a drink or two and drive. It's illegal only if the person is "to the point of intoxication," Wagner said.

Boylan, who oversees the school system's fleet of school buses, told an officer the night of the incident that he had a couple glasses of wine, according to a police report.

During a Jefferson County Magistrate Court hearing Tuesday to determine what type of evidence would be allowed in a trial for Boylan, Sgt. George Manning of the Charles Town Police Department testified that he could smell an alcoholic beverage odor after pulling over a white Chrysler that Boylan was driving on East Washington Street near Jefferson Avenue.

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Boylan had slurred speech, but he denied that he had been drinking, Manning testified.

"I felt he had been lying to me," Manning said.

Manning testified that he administered several sobriety tests to Boylan, 58, of Martinsburg, W.Va., including a heel-to-toe test in which Boylan was instructed to take nine steps heel-to-toe, then turn and repeat the nine steps.

Boylan missed matching a heel to a toe several times, Manning said.

Wagner said after the hearing that Manning did not administer some of the tests according to federal guidelines. He said during the hearing that the heel-to-toe test was for "probable cause to arrest only."

Magistrate Gail Boober ruled that Manning had probable cause to stop Boylan and she ruled that jurors in the trial would be provided the results of the sobriety tests conducted by Manning.

A trial likely will be in mid-December, and a jury of six people will hear the case, Wagner said. Wagner said Tuesday he believes the jurors will see that Boylan was "anything but" an intoxicated person once they review the evidence.

After being pulled over, a preliminary breath test showed that Boylan had a blood-alcohol level of .159 percent, nearly double the allowable limit of .08 percent, Jefferson County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Hasaan Rasheed said.

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