Probable Cause to Arrest Sole Occupant of Single Vehicle Accident, Even if Not Observed Driving - DUI News 11/11/2016

Evidence to arrest sole occupant of single vehicle accident is sufficient even when the occupant was not observed driving the vehicle.

State v. Sayler, 2016 Ohio 7083 (9th Dist.).

September 30, 2016

A call was received that a white SUV was observed to have lost control and spin off in to a median.  When Trooper Dudas of the Ohio State Patrol arrived at the scene units from the Medina County Sheriff's Office and the Seville Police Department were already at the scene with Sayler in the back of a cruiser.  Dudas was told that it was a one-vehicle accident and Sayler was the only occupant.  When Dudas observed the odor of alcohol, bloodshot and glassy eyes, and Sayler admitted to consuming beers, he performed field sobriety tests.  Sayler consented and at no time did she state the was not the driver.

Sayler filed a motion to suppress, which was granted only with respect to blood tests as a result of failure to show they were refrigerated.  She appealed, in part by arguing that it could not be shown that she was the driver.

The Ninth District rejected her appeal, finding that there was probable cause to arrest Sayler based on her being the only occupant present at a single vehicle accident and she agreed to take the field sobriety tests without claiming she had not been the driver.  The evidence of impairment along with her admission of consumption was also sufficient according to the Ninth District.