A blood sample taken from a Bowling Green man charged in a deadly car crash was illegally collected, according to the suspect’s attorney.
During an evidentiary hearing Tuesday in Warren Circuit Court, Warren County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Kim Geoghegan testified about the communication she had with Warren County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Curtis Hargett in the hours following the 2013 crash Hargett investigated.
Matthew Hubbard, 22, of Bowling Green, was killed in the crash on Dye Ford Road on May 31, 2013.
The driver, Zackery Thurston, 23, of Bowling Green, is charged with second-degree manslaughter and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence.
Thurston’s defense team of Bowling Green attorneys Christopher Minix and David Broderick has claimed in court filings that the collection of a blood sample from Thurston in the hours following the crash while he was hospitalized at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville violated established law governing the collection of evidence in another state by a Kentucky-based authority investigating a crime that occurred in Kentucky.
A motion to suppress the blood sample as evidence has been filed. The motion centers on the use of a grand jury subpoena issued by the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office, instead of a search warrant signed by a judge, to collect the sample.
Thurston’s attorneys argue that the grand jury subpoena did not have the effect of law beyond Kentucky’s borders, making the blood sample inadmissible.
On Tuesday, Geoghegan testified she advised Hargett to travel to Vanderbilt and make contact with a hospital official after the deputy informed her he was investigating a suspected DUI crash in which a passenger was severely injured.
Geoghegan told Hargett she would prepare a search warrant, only for Hargett to call her back after he reached the hospital and tell her that the hospital had requested a grand jury subpoena instead of a search warrant.
Hargett was present with a Vanderbilt University police officer when the subpoena was served, Geoghegan said.
On June 5, 2013, after Hargett met with Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron, a search warrant was prepared to request the examination of the blood sample.
Geoghegan testified that the grand jury subpoena was not an attempt by her office to subvert the warrant process to gather evidence.
This was the second hearing related to the gathering of evidence.
Last year, Hargett testified about interviewing Thurston at the hospital and picking up blood samples for analysis, saying a nurse told him Thurston was coherent and able to speak with police. Thurston appeared alert and able to understand what was being said to him during the short interview, Hargett testified.
Warren Circuit Judge John Grise will rule on the motion to suppress at a later date.