Owensboro breathalyzer controversy - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Owensboro breathalyzer controversy

Reporter: Stuart Peck
New Media Producer: Nick Storm 

A Tri-State company is fighting to keep trade secrets out of the hands of the courts and their competitors. This after a Kentucky man, charged with drunk driving, questions the accuracy of one of their products, a breathalyzer test.

Owensboro police officer Brad Martin has made his share of DUI arrests in his career. Martin says the intoxilyzer 5000 is an important tool to put drunk drivers in jail. That tool is being questioned and the company, CMI Inc. of Owensboro, could be forced to turn over trade secrets to the courts.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals has overturned two lower court rulings in a case between CMI and a defendant who wants proof of the machine's accuracy. 14 News talked to both the Daviess County Sheriff's Department and the Owensboro Police Department. Neither agency questions the accuracy of the machine.

Stuart Peck says, "Does it ever run through your mind, well I wonder if this thing is accurate?"

Brad Martin says, "No. The instrument is so advanced and that technical, if there's no way you can not run a test correctly and there's no way it's going to mess up."

Jeff Jones, the Daviess Co. Sheriff's Office, says, "There's never been a time to my knowledge, that I've ever had an officer who has said that based on their observations and based on what led up to placing an individual under arrest in which once they get there, there just like this is completely wrong."

14 News contacted the Kentucky attorney general's office Monday, and they tell us they're disappointed with the appellate court's decision and they're going to ask for a discretionary review.

In a statement to 14 News from CMI, the company says it does not agree with the court opinion and that the decision is not yet final. The statement goes on to say that the company will assist the attorney general's office in any way it can.


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