continued On October 18, 2004, the court backed off charging the younger Huffman with the strict offense of driving under the influence of alcohol and allowed him to plead to a lesser offense. The decision occurred after assistant city attorney Tracy Rogers had completed and signed a "Declaration in Support of Reducing Charges." As reasons for her action, Rogers checked the box on the form called "Problems of Proof." She then checked the following subsections of the box: "No observed erratic driving or defendant not observed driving...; No impairment shown by field coordination tests; Low blood-alcohol level when tested or evidence of rising blood alcohol level."
But arresting officer Mendes's report paints a different picture. Huffman was driving his motorcycle 80 miles per hour when Mendes first spotted him. To catch the suspect, he had to increase the speed of his patrol car to 85 miles per hour on Gilman Drive. After pulling Huffman over and "while speaking with [him]," Mendes writes, "I could smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage on his exhaled breath. I also noticed that his eyes were red and glassy and he was unsteady on his feet.... As Huffman continued his conversation with me, I noted that his speech was thick and slurred."
Mendes continues that he explained "a series of sobriety tests" to Huffman, who then expressed concern he would have problems performing them due to injuries he had experienced. "Huffman did not perform the sobriety tests as demonstrated," the report continues. "Based upon my observations of Huffman's driving, his objective symptoms of being under the influence, his performance on the sobriety tests, I formed the opinion that he was under the influence of alcohol."
The four readings of Huffman's blood alcohol level on the night of the incident show perhaps the greatest failure to square with city attorney Rogers's "Declaration in Support of Reducing Charges." Mary Prévost explains to me that defense attorneys often use the concept of rising blood alcohol levels to argue that smaller amounts of alcohol were in defendants' blood while they drove than when they test in a police station later.
That's because it takes a while for alcohol to enter the bloodstream, the exact time depending on how fast people drink and what they eat before drinking.
But Huffman's readings suggest the opposite. He had blood alcohol levels of .135 percent and .137 percent at the scene of arrest and .09 percent and .10 percent in the station. By the time his blood was tested, his alcohol levels were declining.