SUBJECT: Alcohol a Factor in Crash that Hospitalized Three
RELEASE NUMBER: 2016-NR-049
CONTACT: Lt. Noah Robinson
AUTHORITY: Sheriff Dave Wedding
On Saturday, June 25, 2016 at approximately 7:08pm the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office responded to South Weinbach Avenue north of the I-69 overpass upon report of a vehicle crash involving injury.
On scene investigation indicated that a silver 2010 Kia Forte passenger car had been traveling north on South Weinbach Avenue before leaving the roadway and striking a tree. The driver, later identified as Mr. Robert Wesley Burton III, sustained a broken forearm as a result of the crash. Two other passengers also sustained injuries. The front passenger sustained a broken forearm and broken lower leg and the rear passenger sustained an internal abdominal injury as well as a broken wrist.
Mr. Burton appeared visibly intoxicated to the investigating sheriff’s deputy. A deputy attempted to obtain Mr. Burton’s consent for a blood sample at the hospital, but he refused. A warrant was then obtained with the assistance of the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office later compelled a blood sample from Mr. Burton. Preliminary hospital testing revealed Mr. Burton’s blood alchol content (BAC) to be more than three (3) times the legal limit of .08.
Mr. Burton’s injuries prevented his immediate arrest for Operating a Motor Vehicle while Intoxicated Causing Serious Bodily Injury as a Level 6 Felony. An arrest warrant will be sought at a later date.
Indiana’s implied consent law provides for up to a two year drivers license suspension for refusing a chemical test for intoxication, but carries no criminal penalty. Local procedures for obtaining blood samples from intoxicated motorists were unaffected by a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling. That ruling affected warrantless blood draws in states that criminalize the refusal of a breath or blood test. A driver who refuses a breath or blood test in Indiana faces only a suspension of his or her driving privileges, which is considered a civil penalty. When investigating crashes involving death or serious injury in which a driver has refused testing, Indiana law enforcement officers first attempt to secure a search warrant before compelling a blood draw.
Robert Wesley Burton III, 54, of Evansville.
Pictured above: Crash scene on South Weinbach Avenue.