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Alpena breathalyzer leads to statewide investigation

Submitted by on January 15, 2020 – 12:56 amNo Comment

Michigan State Police continue to investigate the company that now formerly serviced the states 203 breathalyzer devices.

Service records from St. Louis-based Intoximeters Inc. are in question. The criminal investigation was launched after a discrepancy was found in a company report on the calibration of the Datamaster DMT breathalyzer in Alpena.

Since the initial problem was uncovered, possible discrepancies have been discovered at seven other police agencies across the state.

F/Lt. John Grimshaw, Commander of the MSP Alpena Post, said the local breathalyzer has since been inspected and recalibrated, and is in proper working order. He said he isn’t sure how far back the problem reaches – maybe to November 2019. “But that could change,” he quickly added.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen with current and past cases of drunk driving, but we’re not just going to throw them all out,” Grimshaw said, noting that that type of investigation includes other pieces of evidence, such as dash cams, field sobriety tests and more. He said it will ultimately be up to prosecutors in affected counties to make a final determination. He doesn’t expected many, if any cases to be dismissed.

Alpena County Prosecutor Ed Black said he was notified of eight cases that potentially were impacted by the breathalyzer. However, after reviewing those cases, and speaking with defense attorneys, Black determined the outcomes of the cases were not influenced by the results of the device.

Grimshaw said the statewide investigation could be wrapped up within 90 days. He said that based on the outcome of the investigation, the MSP could file criminal charges against Intoximeters Inc., or civil charges or both.
In the meantime, all 203 breathalyzer devices across the state will be closely inspected and calibrated before being put back into service.