A state judge refused Monday to throw out a blood sample that indicates a Baton Rouge man was intoxicated when he rear-ended a car on the Interstate 10 bridge over the Mississippi River in March 2014, killing two motorists.
Dedrick Deon Matthews, 39, contends he did not consent to the drawing of blood after initially trying to provide proper breath samples three times.
District Judge Tony Marabella cited a Louisiana law that allows for warrantless blood draws in crashes involving death or serious bodily injury in denying Matthews’ motion to suppress the blood evidence. The judge also refused to strike down the state law.
Marabella noted that Matthews belched heavily on his fourth attempt to give a breath sample to Baton Rouge police.
“Officer (Cory) Reech reasonably believed he was under time constraints that would have rendered applying for a warrant impractical because it risked the destruction of evidence. These constraints were caused by Matthews’s own behavior,” the judge stated in his ruling.
“Matthews initially complied with the breath testing, raising no objection and even stated that he wanted to try again after the second test,” he added. “After the belch during the fourth test, the officers reasonably believed that Matthews was attempting to destroy evidence of his blood alcohol content.”
Marabella said Reech “did not act unreasonably in obtaining the blood draw without a warrant.”
Johnny Galmon, 26, and Kandace Cox, 19, both of Baton Rouge, died after Matthews’ Dodge Charger rear-ended the Honda in which they were riding March 30, 2014. Two other women in the Honda were injured.
Matthews told police he began that night as a sober, designated driver but later consumed alcoholic drinks at a club and a casino before getting behind the wheel again. Matthews told police he was speaking with his passenger when the crash occurred.
An affidavit of probable cause says Matthews repeatedly fell asleep while police tried to interview him.
His blood-alcohol content was measured at 0.11 percent. A reading of 0.08 percent or higher in Louisiana is illegal for driving.
Matthews is charged with two counts each of vehicular homicide and first-degree vehicular negligent injuring. His next court date is Oct. 13.