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North Carolina v. Riddle

Filed: April 6, 1982.

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
SAMMY RAY RIDDLE



Appeal by defendant from Ferrell, Judge. Judgment entered 3 June 1981 in Superior Court, Buncombe County. Heard in the Court of Appeals 4 March 1982.

Whichard, Judge. Judges Martin (Robert M.) and Martin (Harry C.) concur.

Whichard

The principal issue is whether the court erred in denying defendant's motion to dismiss. We find no error.

The State's evidence tended to show the following:

Donna Wood, while a passenger in a car driven by her husband, Ronald Wood, suddenly saw car lights in the middle of the road and saw her husband turn the steering wheel toward the right shoulder. There was a collision, and the Wood car went into an adjacent field. Ronald Wood died from injuries sustained in the collision.

Donna Wood saw defendant get out of the other car involved in the collision and walk toward her. He told her that his friend owned and was driving the car, and that his friend had jumped out and run through the woods when the collision occurred. She smelled a strong odor of alcohol about him at that time.

Lloyd Messer observed the accident. As he went by the scene he saw a man "standing at the right-hand door on the

passenger's side" of the car which collided with the Woods car. The man was shutting or opening the door. Messer exited from his vehicle and attempted to assist Mr. Woods. While he was so engaged, defendant approached; and Messer could smell alcohol. Defendant told Messer the car belonged to and had been driven by his friend, and his friend had "run out on him and run through the woods." Messer went to the woods, but could find nothing.

When the investigating patrolman arrived, defendant told him the car belonged to his girl friend. He also told him one Gerald Ray had been driving. He "indicated that Mr. Ray had supposedly left out the driver's door." The patrolman attempted to open that door and was unable to do so because of the damage it had sustained in the collision. The patrolman smelled a strong odor of alcohol about defendant, and observed that defendant was "very hesitant and swaying." In his opinion defendant's faculties were appreciably impaired by some type of alcoholic beverage. Defendant told the patrolman he had consumed four or five drinks of liquor. He told him he had not been driving the car. The only description defendant could give of the alleged driver related to the clothes he wore. The patrolman placed the name Gerald Ray in the PIN machine and found no one in the record by that name.

Another patrolman administered a breathalyzer test to defendant which produced a reading of .14 percent blood alcohol. Defendant also told this patrolman he was not driving the car.

Sheriff's deputies checked the area and could find no evidence "regarding somebody running through the woods." When the wrecker driver requested the keys to the car which collided with the Woods car, ...


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