Earlier this year, a reminder came of how serious the consequences of a DUI charge can be. In the case of Coroner Dave Roberts, his DUI charge may have cost him his job.
It was an interesting turn of events that led to Roberts’s arrest. It began late at night on March 8 when Roberts was called to the scene of a fatal car crash. The crash happened after a 16-year- old boy’s pick up truck hit an embankment and flipped over at the side of the road.
The driver and one of the three passengers were being transported to the hospital for minor injuries. Meanwhile, a second passenger had been thrown from the vehicle and was suffering from significant injuries. Unfortunately, a third passenger involved in the crash—a 19 year old Las Animas woman—died at the scene.
At this point, Roberts was called to the asses the situation. However, after his arrival the state troopers became suspicious, sensing that something did not seem right with Roberts. At one point they were able to smell alcohol on Roberts’s breath. When they confronted him about the odor, Roberts admitted to having had consumed a few alcoholic beverages earlier that night.
Shortly after Roberts was arrested on suspicion of a DUI. Colorado State Patrol spokesman Trooper Joshua Lewis said that Roberts would have taken a breathalyzer test, but that he did not have the results available at the time.
In a report released by KRDO they stated that Roberts was first arrested on suspicion of DUI and taken to the Las Animas County jail where he was given a breathalyzer test which showed his blood alcohol content to be .087.
KOAA News 5 reported that Roberts was given a breathalyzer test at the scene and again at the police station, and reported the same .087 BAC reading.
Roberts was charged with a DUI per se, meaning that his arrest occurred regardless of whether the alcohol he consumed had (or could have had) any effect of his driving. DUI per se is a charge given to those who drive with a BAC of .08 or higher and fighting a DUI per se charge can be particularly difficult.
In an article discussing the topic of DUI per se, lawyers.com stated that, often, people find the DUI per se rule unfair since some drinkers are able to build up a tolerance to alcohol after a lifetime of drinking and the varying rates of absorption and metabolization can mean that the person charged with a DUI per se may not have actually been impaired.
While no other details were given about the arrest, what followed was the resignation of Roberts from his post as Bent County Coroner. Roberts has not commented on his arrest or his resignation.