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Questioned blood test not enough to overturn Todd Harrell DUI

Tennessee readers may recall a couple of posts last year in which 3 Doors Down bass player Todd Harrell was featured. The focus dealt with a charge of vehicular homicide he faces stemming from a fatal accident in April. Authorities allege he was driving impaired at the time.

In addition to that still-pending case, Harrell has been dealing with another drunk driving charge in Mississippi. Recently that case saw some action on appeal, and while the conviction was upheld, it appears that the penalties may have been somewhat mitigated.

The charge stemmed from an accident that occurred in July 2012. According to authorities, Harrell was driving and ran into the back of a pickup truck stopped at a stop sign. 

An officer who witnessed what happened reported that Harrell appeared to be speeding and did not apply his brakes before the 7 a.m. crash. The driver of the pickup truck was not killed. Indeed, there's no information about if he even was injured.

Police records indicate that Harrell seemed slow and had slurred speech after the wreck. There was no evidence of alcohol reported. But during the trial, a state toxicologist testified that a blood test revealed the presence of Valium, Xanex and Oxicodone in Harrell's system.

In appealing the conviction earlier this month, Harrell's attorneys elicited an admission from the toxicologist that he could not testify to the level of drugs in the defendant's system or when they might have been taken. The defense also produced a neurologist who testified that the defendant's behavior after the crash may have been the result of a closed head injury suffered during the collision.

Despite the evidence, the judge upheld the guilty verdict and fined Harrell $1,000. The judge also gave Harrell a two-day jail sentence, but suspended that on a number of conditions, including that he display six months of good behavior.

Source: WLOX-TV, "3 Doors Down bassist loses appeal of DUI conviction," Danielle Thomas, Jan. 9, 2014

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