Thursday, February 26, 2004
After deliberating for six hours, a jury found Todd Brehmer guilty of careless driving, resisting arrest and speeding, but not guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol and vehicular eluding.
The decision ended a four-day trial for a Sept. 16 incident in which police said Brehmer fled a routine traffic stop.
Brehmer, 44 of Steamboat Springs, was charged with vehicular eluding, resisting arrest, DUI and speeding. The jury found Brehmer guilty of careless driving, a lesser crime than vehicular eluding or reckless driving. The jury also found Brehmer not guilty of either DUI or driving while ability impaired.
District Judge Michael O'Hara set Brehmer's sentencing date for April 9.
On Thursday, deputy district attorney Erick Knaus and Brehmer's attorney, Larry Combs, gave closing arguments before the jury went into deliberation.
On Sept. 16, Brehmer was arrested after allegedly fleeing a routine traffic stop, according to the Steamboat Springs Police Department. Brehmer drove to his home, where police tackled him in his garage. A pint glass that Brehmer was carrying into the house broke and Brehmer's arm was cut.
As Brehmer was getting into an ambulance and then at the hospital, he continually refused treatment or a blood test to determine his blood-alcohol content, police said. It was not until after Brehmer talked to his wife by phone from the hospital that he allowed treatment and demanded a blood test.
In his closing arguments, Combs said the police department had something to hide by not giving Brehmer a blood-alcohol test after he requested one and by not giving him a breath test when they went back to the jail.
"It would have provided real evidence of the presence of any alcohol," Combs said. "Why not allow blood or breath tests if you have nothing to hide?"
During the trial, Brehmer said the only alcohol he had that night was a pint of beer with dinner about five hours before the arrest. He also testified that he became frustrated and uncomfortable with Officer Damien Baynes' handling of the traffic stop and told Baynes if he was not getting a speeding ticket, he was going to go home.
"Todd Brehmer had no reason to drive fast," Combs said. "I don't think he was trying to escape. He was just trying to go home and (the police) knew it."
Knaus argued that Brehmer had something to hide when he drove away before police had finished a DUI investigation.
During the trial, police officers and a paramedic testified they could smell alcohol on Brehmer's breath and that he appeared to have been drinking. Knaus said that Brehmer had numerous chances to get a blood test.
"He had his chance. We should wait until it is a convenient time for him to gather evidence that might or might not still exist because of his lack of cooperation, his refusal?" Knaus asked the jury.
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