Opinion No. 4
from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District,
State of Idaho, Boise County. Hon. Patrick H. Owen, District
withholding judgment for vehicular manslaughter,
A. Fyffe, Boise, for appellant.
Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Theodore S. Tollefson,
Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.
R. Lutton appeals from the district court's order
withholding judgment for vehicular manslaughter.
Specifically, he argues the district court erred in denying
Lutton's motion to suppress evidence of his blood alcohol
content. We affirm.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
around 9 p.m., after enjoying a day at the reservoir with his
children and some friends, Lutton began the drive back to
town. Lutton drove his sons, ages two and four, in
Lutton's two-wheel drive vehicle, following behind his
friend's vehicle. At some point on the dirt road leading
to the highway, Lutton hit washboard and lost control of his
vehicle. The vehicle left the road and went into the
was able to escape the submerging vehicle and rescue his
four-year-old son. The boy was not breathing when he was
pulled from the water. Lutton's friend, having returned
to where Lutton's vehicle left the road, was able to
revive the boy by performing CPR. Lutton returned to the
water to rescue his two-year-old son who was still strapped
inside the submerged vehicle. After unbuckling and freeing
him from his car seat, Lutton lost hold of the child. Lutton
was unable to find his son in the water despite repeated
attempts to locate him. Lutton's friend eventually forced
Lutton to exit the water out of concern for Lutton's
safety, as he was showing signs of hypothermia. Other people
who had stopped to help continued to look for the
that Lutton and the four-year-old needed immediate medical
treatment, Lutton's friend drove Lutton and his son from
the accident site toward the hospital in town. Before they
were able to reach the hospital, police officers observed the
vehicle speeding with its hazard lights flashing. The
officers stopped the vehicle to investigate, with one officer
making contact with the driver and the other officer making
contact with Lutton in the passenger's seat.
and his friend told the officers about the crash and the need
for medical attention. The officer who spoke with Lutton
detected a slight odor of alcohol coming from the vehicle.
Lutton was distraught and sobbing, but admitted to having
consumed three beers between one and three o'clock that
afternoon. Lutton's friend also admitted to drinking
earlier in the day. The officers called for an ambulance to
transport Lutton and his four-year-old son to the hospital.
The officers dispatched an Idaho State Police (ISP) trooper
to respond to the hospital to investigate Lutton for possible
driving under the influence (DUI). After the ambulance
arrived, the other officer spoke with Lutton while he was in
the ambulance. The officer did not smell alcohol coming from
Lutton's person. After the ambulance departed, the two
officers remained at the scene to interview Lutton's
friend further before traveling to the hospital themselves.
there are differing accounts as to what happened at the
hospital, the district court found the following facts. At
the hospital, the original responding officers reconnected
with Lutton in his treatment room. Lutton was seated on the
bed wrapped in a blanket, without clothes. The officer that
initially made contact with Lutton in the vehicle continued
the investigation, asking Lutton questions about the
day's activities and details about the accident. The
officer did not detect any odor of alcohol or any other signs
of intoxication. The officer did not conduct any sobriety
tests. At this time, Lutton was no longer sobbing, did not
appear as distraught as he had been earlier, and was able to
understand and answer the officer's questions. The
officer informed Lutton that an ISP trooper had been called
to assist in the investigation and that the trooper would be
reading Lutton an advisory form and obtaining a blood sample.
When the ISP trooper arrived, the two officers stationed
themselves outside the door of Lutton's treatment room.
trooper read the administrative license suspension advisory
form to Lutton. While the trooper spoke with Lutton, the
two-year-old boy arrived in the emergency room on a gurney
and was placed in an adjacent treatment room. After seeing
his son, Lutton was distraught and crying. At no time did the
trooper restrict Lutton from seeing his son on the condition
that Lutton first complete a blood draw. Lutton subsequently
cooperated with a hospital nurse in providing a blood sample.
Lutton did not affirmatively object, refuse, or physically
resist the blood draw. Lutton was advised of the ...