in the Court of Appeals 3 April 2018.
by defendant from judgments entered 16 March 2017 by Judge W.
Douglas Parsons in Johnston County Nos. 16CRS052218-19
Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Assistant Attorney
General William H. Harkins, Jr., for the State.
William D. Spence for defendant-appellant.
defendant's admitted that he was the driver of the
vehicle, and the State presented sufficient independent
corroborating evidence that defendant was the driver of the
vehicle, the corpus delicti rule is satisfied and
the State did not err in denying defendant's motion to
dismiss the charges against him. We find no error in the
judgments of the trial court.
10:00 p.m. on 9 April 2016, volunteer firefighter Brent
Driver ("Brent") was off duty when he saw an
unknown female standing in the middle of the road waving her
arms back and forth on Princeton Kenly Road in Johnston
County. Brent stopped, and the woman told him that a wreck
had occurred, and that she had already called 911.
Brent's passenger, another firefighter, went and checked
the car-a white Rodeo SUV which was nose-down in a ditch on
the side of the road-"to see if there was [sic] any
fluids leaking from the vehicle, gas or anything like
that." Brent then observed defendant David Hines, Jr.,
leaning against the back of the white Rodeo. Brent testified
that defendant "smelled [of a] real high odor of alcohol
and couldn't maintain his balance or anything."
Brent asked defendant to come and sit in the back of
Brent's truck "so [defendant] didn't fall and
noted that defendant was wearing only one white shoe. An
identical white shoe was found in the driver's side
floorboard of the white Rodeo. Brent also observed a cut on
Chris Bell with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol
responded to the scene of the accident. He first spoke with
Brent, who told him that the driver of the white
Rodeo-defendant-was sitting in the tailgate of his truck. As
Trooper Bell approached defendant, he noticed that defendant
had "a distinct sway, " "bloodshot" and
"glassy eyes, " and he also "[d]etected a very
strong odor of alcohol."
Bell asked defendant for his driver's license, and
defendant responded that he did not have one. Instead, he
provided Trooper Bell with an ID card containing
defendant's picture, name, and date of birth. When
Trooper Bell asked about the accident, defendant told him he
was not familiar with the area, he was the only person
present in the vehicle at the time of the accident, and that
he "hit the ditch" when he ran a stop sign driving
approximately sixty miles per hour.
Bell then asked defendant to fill out a standard witness
statement form, which he handed to defendant as he sat on the
tailgate of Brent's truck. Trooper Bell stepped away to
call a tow truck, and when he returned to retrieve the
witness statement from defendant about ten to fifteen minutes
later, he discovered defendant "laying in the bed of the
truck, passed out."
Bell retrieved the witness statement form, noting that
defendant had only signed and dated the form without
providing a statement. Based on the information given him by
defendant, Trooper Bell proceeded to fill out the witness
statement in his own handwriting.
point, Trooper Bell asked defendant to submit to a portable
breath test, and defendant refused. Defendant was then
arrested for driving while impaired ("DWI"),
handcuffed, placed in the front passenger seat of Trooper
Bell's patrol car, and driven to the Johnston County
courthouse's Intoximeter room. Once there, defendant was
read his rights but refused to provide "any kind of
sample" for analysis and also refused standardized field
sobriety testing later at the jail. Trooper Bell obtained a
warrant for defendant's blood sample, and defendant was
transported to Johnston Medical Center in Smithfield.
Defendant's blood was drawn, and the sample was submitted
to the State crime lab for analysis.
April 2016, defendant was charged with DWI, driving while
license revoked ("DWLR"), and careless and reckless
driving. The case was called for trial before the Honorable
W. Douglas Parsons, Judge presiding, during the 13 March 2017
Criminal Session of Johnston County Superior Court. The trial
court denied ...