FARMINGTON — An attorney for a Salt Lake City man accused of drunkenly causing a fatal car wreck is seeking to suppress test results of blood alcohol levels and statements made by his client to police.
J. Kent Holland filed an 11-page motion on Thursday in 2nd District Court in behalf of David C. Helm, 48.
Helm is charged with one count of automobile homicide and criminal negligence while driving under the influence of alcohol in the Oct. 24, 2013, death of Trent Hanson in Woods Cross.
Holland came to court on Monday prepared to argue his suppression motion, but Deputy Davis County Attorney Rick Westmoreland asked the judge to reschedule the hearing.
Westmoreland said Holland contacted him several times since the last hearing, but he had no idea what the suppression motion was going to contain until he saw it on Thursday.
“I didn’t know what the issues were, so I didn’t know who to subpoena and what the evidence was,” Westmoreland said.
Judge Michael Allphin did not set another day for a hearing, but told the two attorneys to get together and schedule a day with the clerk for another hearing to suppression evidence.
According to the motion filed by Holland, police did not conduct any field sobriety tests or make any observations concerning Helm’s intoxication, so there “was no probable cause to arrest Mr. Helm.”
Holland said Helm did not have slurred speech, did not display balance problems, did not have difficulty in walking or did not act belligerent or confused.
The police record noted Helm’s red eyes and face, according to the motion, but “this condition is easily attributed to Mr. Helms’ crying at the loss of his friend, tiredness and airbag deployed in his face.”
Helm did tell police he and Hanson had been drinking before the accident, according to the document, but that the officer should not have been led to believe Helm, who weighs 230 pounds, was impaired after having two or three drinks, according to the document.
Holland also contends that Helm was unlawfully arrested, so the blood alcohol tests done and statements made by Helm after the accident are inadmissible.
Holland also asserts the Utah Code allows for a margin of error in the tests of plus or minus 5 percent, so Helm’s blood test could be as low as 0.76 percent, which was below the legal limit.
Holland wrote in the document the flatbed tow truck Helm ran into was parked next to the travel lane and also protruded into the travel portion of 1500 South.
“There were no street lights in the area of the accident and the rear end of the tow truck did not contain required reflectors and its tail lights were so dirty that the reflective ability, if any, was minimal,” according to the court document.
Woods Cross police said that at 10:30 p.m. on the fatal day, a Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by Helm hit the parked tow truck.
First responders arrived to find the passenger, the 47-year-old Hanson, severely injured. He was flown to Intermountain Healthcare Center in Murray via LifeFlight, where he later died.
According to the charging document filed in district court, Helm’s breath test showed alcohol content of 0.081, above the legal limit for driving. Helm was not injured.
Helm was released from the Davis County Jail on $25,000 bail after the charge was filed in March and he was booked, posting the cash bail five days later.
Contact reporter Loretta Park at 801-625-4252 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LorettaParkSE. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SELorettaPark.