The Third Department vacated defendant’s conviction for aggravated driving while intoxicated because the application for a court-ordered blood test did not indicate that it was based on hearsay. In addition, the court, in affirming the defendant’s conviction for reckless driving, explained the elements of that offense. The defendant, who had stopped drinking a few hours before the accident, moved into the oncoming lane and struck the victim’s car head-on (the victim died):
Although an application for a court-ordered blood test may contain hearsay and double hearsay statements that satisfy the Aguilar-Spinelli test, the application must disclose that it is supported by hearsay and identify the source or sources of the hearsay” … . Here, the investigator based the application on information provided to him from other officers that defendant had made oral admissions at the scene to operating the vehicle and consuming alcohol, had a reading of .12% blood alcohol content on the Alco-Sensor test and refused to take a chemical test. The failure to reveal the hearsay nature of the information improperly deprived County Court of the opportunity to determine the reliability of the information for itself as a neutral, detached arbiter … . Accordingly, the motion to suppress the blood test results should have been granted and, in the absence of those results, the conviction for aggravated driving while intoxicated must be vacated … .
As for the charge of reckless driving, it is defined as driving “in a manner which unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway” … . “More than mere negligence is required, and the term has been held to mean ‘the running or operation of an automobile under such circumstances as to show a reckless disregard of the consequences'” … . “Determining whether conduct rises to the level of unreasonable interference or endangerment such that it constitutes the requisite recklessness involves the presence of additional aggravating acts or circumstances beyond a single violation of a rule of the road” … .
Here, the investigator who reconstructed the accident testified that defendant crossed the center line and collided driver-side “headlight to [driver-side] headlight” with the oncoming vehicle. The passenger in the other vehicle testified that the victim observed defendant in their lane and, although the victim attempted to move over as far as possible to avoid the accident, defendant was almost entirely in their lane at the time of the collision. Defendant admitted that she had been drinking, and the arresting officer testified that she had glassy eyes, slurred speech and the odor of alcohol. The officer concluded, based on his experience and observations, that defendant was intoxicated. People v Earley, 2014 NY Slip Op 07022, 3rd Dept 10-16-14