MOUNT VERNON — Charged with multiple counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, William P. Cartwright appeared in court on Friday to argue that a blood sample taken from him was illegally obtained and should not be allowed into evidence against him.
Cartwright, 47, is charged with allegedly causing the death of a 15-year-old boy in a drunk driving accident on U.S. 62 near Danville last August. According to the court records, Cartwright was allegedly driving intoxicated when he struck 15-year-old Robert L. Miller on the side of the road. Miller and some friends were riding their bicycles at the time. A blood sample taken from Cartwright after the accident allegedly shows Cartwright had a blood/alcohol level of .202, more than twice the legal limit.
Attorney Michael H. Siewert, Columbus, argued that Cartwright was unconscious at the time the blood sample was taken, and therefore there was no consent for the procedure. Siewert said the implied consent provision was only valid for two hours after the accident. He also said police only had three hours after the accident to draw the blood sample from Cartwright. Although Siewert agreed the sample was taken under the three-hour time limit, “the only methodology for more than two but less than three hours is a search warrant.”
“As there is no search warrant, they can’t take the sample without it,” he said.
Knox County Prosecutor John Thatcher said Siewert’s argument was covered under the implied consent provision. According to Ohio law, a person incapable of refusing is presumed to consent to the blood sample.
Common Pleas Judge Otho Eyster agreed with Thatcher and denied Cartwright’s motion to suppress.
Cartwright is charged with two counts of aggravated vehicular manslaughter, vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter, aggravated vehicular assault, aggravated vehicular homicide, operating a vehicle under the influence with three or more previous offenses and driving while intoxicated. Cartwright is scheduled for jury trial on April 29. If convicted and sentenced consecutively on all counts, Cartwright could face up to 21 years in prison.