Blood-alcohol higher in driver who struck police officer

Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2007 at 3:32 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 1, 2007 at 3:32 p.m.

A blood test of the man, accused of drunken driving and fatally injuring a Gainesville Police lieutenant, showed a blood-alcohol reading more than three times the limit set by state law, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.

Austin J. Wright , 21, had a blood alcohol level of 0.271 higher than initial breath tests indicated, according to troopers. Wright is facing charges of DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of a crash with death following an accident involving Lt. Corey Dahlem.

The 45-year-old officer had been crossing W. University Avenue the morning of April 2 when he was struck by a pickup driven by Wright, officers said. He and other police had been wrapping up a patrol of the area. The street had been shut to vehicles for a celebration of the University of Florida national basketball championship.

Wright, a student at the University of North Florida, had been in Gainesville to celebrate the championship, troopers reported.

Breath tests results for Wright showed readings of 0.227 and 0.214, according to troopers.

Under state law, a reading of 0.08 is enough to establish a case of driving under the influence.

Tests of the blood, taken after the accident, did not show the presence of any other substances, said FHP Lt. Mike Burroughs.

The State Attorney's Office had been waiting for the results. The degree that a driver is over the limit is not a legal issue in the manslaughter case, according to the agency.

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