Officer who arrested man accused of killing Boy Scout says driver smelled of alcohol
The police officer who arrested the man accused of driving drunk and hitting a group of Boy Scouts, killing Andrew McMorris, took the stand Monday.
Daniel Brecht took the stand and said after he arrived at the Manorville scene last year, he identified Thomas Murphy as the driver of the SUV.
He said Murphy smelled of alcohol and seemed unsteady on his feet. Brecht said he performed a couple of field sobriety tests but that Murphy refused a Breathalyzer test and a blood test.
Cross-examination by Murphy's attorney questioned Brecht's notes, saying the officer made several errors that could prove his client wasn't drunk at the time. At one point, attorney Steve Politi even called the officer's actions criminal.
"I don't believe this officer thought Mr. Murphy was intoxicated. Because he passed the only field sobriety test that he claims he took, which would indicate an intoxication level of below .08," said Politi.
Prosecutors have said a court-ordered test reported Murphy's blood alcohol was .13% and could have even been higher at the time of the accident.
The mother of the boy who was killed, Alisa McMorris, said hearing the defense pick away at the officer's testimony was "heartbreaking."
The jury is expected to hear testimony through Wednesday afternoon before breaking for the rest of the week for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Murphy faces 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison if convicted on aggravated vehicular homicide, assault and DWI charges.