MOUNT PLEASANT, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Maury County father is upset after the Mount Pleasant city manager’s DUI case was dismissed.
Kate Collier was arrested last March on multiple charges that included DUI, refusing a blood test and violation of the open container law.
At the time Collier was pulled over, two kids, her 11-year-old son and his 12-year-old friend, were in the car with her.
News 2 spoke with the friend’s father who said the two boys had been out fishing and Collier had picked them up.
It wasn’t long though before his son sent him a distressing text message from the backseat of Collier’s car.
David James saved the string of messages and showed them to News 2 on Wednesday.
One message said, “We got pulled over for swerving.”
James said he clearly remembers what he was thinking when he received the message.
“Panic. Scared,” he recalled.
James said he called his son, but by that time Collier had been pulled over by a Maury County sheriff’s deputy.
He said he spoke with a police officer and then responded to the scene of the stop. James said when he arrived, Collier was in the back of the squad car and the two boys were in her car still.
“My son and her son [were] in the back of the vehicle shaken up,” James said.
James showed News 2 a second set of text messages regarding the incident that are reportedly from Collier. In those messages, the city manager apologized to James.
According to the arrest report obtained by News 2, Collier’s speech was “slurred” and she admitted to “drinking two glasses of wine.”
A cup of red wine was also reportedly found in the center console.
According to the deputies report, Collier did poorly on the field sobriety test.
The report also said both boys told the deputy they were scared.
Arrest documents stated Collier refused to voluntarily have her blood drawn, forcing investigators to get a warrant for the blood test.
According to attorney John Colley, who represents the city manager, the paperwork for the blood test had errors – specifically regarding times.
“In an effort to explain the different times, the deputy testified he filled out four original search warrants, when in fact he filled out one and then made copies of it,” Colley wrote.
He added, “The various copies of the search warrant all bear the time of the 22:44 except one, which bears the time of 20:44. Blood was drawn at approximately 21:00. As you may know, all the search warrant copies must match, and the search warrant must be issued before it’s served and executed.”
Because of the error, the Maury County judge dismissed the case.
After the dismissal, Collier released a statement that said, “I am relived and gratified that the circuit court recognized a flawed prosecution and ended it. I look forward to serving Mount Pleasant in the years ahead and regret this distraction.”
James, however, said he is upset how the case turned out.
“I was upset, you know. It is an injustice, I guess,” he said. “I’m supporting the district attorney 100 percent,” he said.
By phone on Wednesday, District Attorney Brent Cooper told News 2 he plans to appeal the dismissal and said the officer made a simple mistake on the warrant.
“The case was dismissed,” Cooper said. “The judge ruled the blood evidence was inadmissible because of a faulty search warrant.”
He continued, “The defense attorney asked to dismiss the case and the judge did. The defense attorney asked the judge to punish the officer for what he did wrong. We think it was a typographical error, that he just wrote the number wrong. We respect the judge’s ruling. It was erroneous ruling. We will file an appeal so the court of criminal appeals can decide. Not only is the search warrant valid, but the dismissal was improper.”
Cooper said Collier’s blood results are known, but he would not release them.
“If the blood results were below the legal limit we would not be pursuing this case,” he told News 2, adding the city manager’s case was dismissed on a technicality. “We don’t think there were grounds to suppress.”
When asked if he could get a prosecution without blood evidence, Cooper said, “We have prosecuted hundreds of cases and got DUI convictions without blood results. Easily half of our DUI cases are prosecuted without blood evidence. We use police video, witnesses and results from the field sobriety test.”