Man Charged with DUI after Grazing Maryland State Trooper
Posted on September 25, 2014
Written by a Staff Writer
The Washington Post reported earlier that an alleged drunk driver hit a Maryland state trooper on the Capital Beltway in Greenbelt on Tuesday. The officer was standing on the shoulder of the Capital Beltway’s inner loop and was in the middle of conducting a traffic stop when the accident occurred at about 2:30 a.m., according to police.
The trooper had apparently pulled over the other car near the Greenbelt Metro exit just before he was hit. The driver side door of the other vehicle was open and as the alleged intoxicated driver drove past he struck the stopped car’s door and grazed the officer’s back. Another state trooper then reportedly pursued the SUV for about a mile before the driver stopped. He has been identified as Franklin Humberto Hernandez, 42, of Hyattsville, Maryland. Hernandez was charged with DUI and several other offenses. The state trooper who was hit was released from a nearby hospital around 5 a.m. that same day after being treated for back injuries. You can find the full article here.
Obviously no one should drink and drive under any circumstance as it can put themselves and others at serious risk. Whether or not the driver in this incident was actually intoxicated and is guilty of any criminal offense, however, remains to be seen. Though the newspaper paraphrases police declaring the man as such, they do not list the driver’s BAC or provide any other details of the incident and arrest. Most people know that the legal limit for being charged with a DUI is 0.08 percent, though in certain circumstances drivers have been determined to have lower BAC levels and have still been charged with driving under the influence. What many people do not realize is that the machinery and tests used to determine a driver’s BAC level can be flawed, and can provide erroneous readings. Medical problems, dim lighting, and weather conditions are also all potentially contributing factors to incidents such as the one that occurred at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday.
We certainly hope that the trooper is not seriously hurt and that he will make a full recovery. We also hope that the driver is given a shot at a fair trial and is allowed to defend himself, in accordance with his constitutional rights. Additionally, we hope that the Washington Post, and other media outlets, remember that just because someone is charged with drunk driving does not mean they are automatically a drunk driver. Mr. Hernandez has not yet had a trial, let alone been convicted. The offense, at this point, is alleged. It’s an important distinction to keep in mind, especially if when it comes to issues of poisoning potential jury pools.