Wednesday, May 2, 2012

DUI lab tests botched, 200 retests are from El Paso County

Posted By on Wed, May 2, 2012 at 3:38 PM

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's lab is retesting 1,700 blood samples taken in DUI cases across the state, and 200 of them are from El Paso County.

Blood vials Colorado Springs El Paso County

The Denver Post reported Tuesday that a lab tech, who graduated from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, failed to follow proper procedure, which led to incorrect readings. The newspaper reported he was fired, but state officials aren't commenting on the personnel matter, Department of Health spokesman Mark Salley tells the Indy.

The discovery of incorrect readings has triggered a redo of hundreds of tests.

Since both the El Paso County Sheriff's Office and the Colorado Springs Police Department use the state lab for DUI blood sample testing, local cases could be affected.

The city referred questions to the state, and a spokesman says the city hasn't received any notice from the state.

Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Mike Schaller says, "None of our cases have have been brought to our attention at this point."

But Salley tells us that 200 of the 1,700 samples being retested are from El Paso County.

As of Tuesday, the Post reported, the state had retested 600 samples and found 10 with different outcomes than the original tests.

Salley tells the Indy that of the 10 samples retested that had a different reading on the retest, only one was from El Paso County. The outcome of that case shouldn't change, he says in an e-mail, because, "The sample showed a lower BAC [blood alcohol content] than what was actually in the blood upon retest. In other words, the original sample confirmed alcohol impaired; and the retest showed a higher rate of impairment — so the charge still was warranted."

No word on when the testing will be completed.

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