Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
February 15, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Cheatham County No. 17289 Larry J.
Scarlet I. Martin, was convicted of driving under the
influence of an intoxicant ("DUI") and driving
under the influence of an intoxicant with a blood alcohol
concentration ("BAC") greater than .08 ("DUI
per se"). She appeals, arguing that the evidence was
insufficient to support her convictions and that the trial
court erred by denying her motion to suppress the results of
a warrantless blood draw. After carefully reviewing the
record, we conclude that the evidence was sufficient and that
the blood draw was justified by exigent circumstances.
Accordingly, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Circuit
McKinney and Brittney Hollis, Nashville, Tennessee, for the
appellant, Scarlet I. Martin.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; M.
Todd Ridley, Assistant Attorney General; Ray Crouch, District
Attorney General; and Jack Arnold and Talmage M. Woodall,
Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State
Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Robert W. Wedemeyer and Robert L. Holloway, Jr., JJ.,
TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE.
Procedural History and Factual Summary
a preliminary hearing, Defendant was indicted for DUI and DUI
per se. Defendant filed a motion to suppress the test results
of a warrantless blood draw. The trial court denied the
motion. Defendant proceeded to a bench trial and was
convicted as charged.
trial, Trooper Bryant Campbell of the Tennessee Highway
Patrol ("THP") testified that on February 5, 2014,
he was dispatched to the site of a single-car accident on
Chapmansboro Road. The accident occurred around 10:30 p.m.
THP was notified of the accident by the Cheatham County
Sheriff's Department. Deputies James Curran and William
Zimmerlee were also dispatched to the scene. When Trooper
Campbell arrived around 11:05 p.m., Defendant and a male
passenger were receiving medical treatment and being loaded
into the back of an ambulance. Trooper Campbell spoke briefly
with the medical personnel, but he did not address Defendant
or the passenger.
to THP protocol, Trooper Campbell commenced a vehicle
accident investigation. Trooper Campbell observed that the
vehicle had departed from the road and gone "off down an
embankment in a bunch of thicket-like area." There were
about 50 feet of tire markings on the road, and it appeared
that the vehicle travelled down the hill for about 150 feet.
Trooper Campbell surmised that the vehicle was traveling
north at the time of the accident. During the course of his
on-site investigation, Trooper Campbell did not find any
evidence of alcohol consumption and, therefore, did not have
any suspicion of DUI at the time.
the vehicle appeared inoperable, Trooper Campbell called for
a tow truck. The tow truck arrived around midnight. THP
policy requires a patrolman to wait at the scene of an
accident until a tow truck operator has completely secured
the vehicle by loading the vehicle on the tow truck. The
patrolman is also required to ensure that the tow truck
operator retrieves all parts of the vehicle and does not
leave anything behind.
leaving the scene of the accident, Trooper Campbell went to
the hospital to interview the Defendant and the passenger. He
arrived at the hospital around 12:20 a.m. Defendant was being
prepared for a CT scan, so Trooper Campbell spoke with the
passenger, who appeared to have "scratches and marks all
on him." When Defendant returned from the scan, Trooper
Campbell "could smell alcoholic beverage coming off of
her." The odor of alcohol was strong enough that the
trooper recognized it "right away." Trooper
Campbell also noticed a "slight" slurring of
admitted to Trooper Campbell that she was driving the vehicle
and that she and the passenger were returning from Nashville.
Defendant also admitted she had two alcoholic beverages
before driving. At this point, Trooper Campbell suspected
Defendant of committing DUI so he read the implied consent
form to Defendant. She refused to sign the form and refused
to submit to a blood draw. Trooper Campbell directed one of
the nurses to proceed with a blood draw without
Defendant's consent. After the blood was drawn, Trooper
Campbell secured the blood. A forensic analysis of the blood
conducted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation determined
that Defendant's BAC was .17, which is more than twice
the legal limit in Tennessee.
Campbell testified that there was nothing that he could have
done to speed up the investigation. He later learned that the
crashed vehicle was registered to Defendant's father.
trial court found Trooper Campbell's testimony credible
and found Defendant guilty as charged. The trial court merged
both convictions and accepted the parties' agreement to a