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State v. Mauk

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

September 29, 2014

STATE OF DELAWARE
v.
KIMBERLY S. MAUK, Defendant.

Date Submitted: June 27, 2014

Upon Defendant's Motion to Bar Statements Procured in Violation of Miranda: DENIED

Upon Defendant's Motion to Suppress: DENIED

Edmund Daniel Lyons, Esquire, for Defendant.

Barzilai K. Axelrod, Esquire, Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, Carvel State Office Building, for the State of Delaware

OPINION

Jan R. Jurden, Judge

I. INTRODUCTION

Defendant Kimberly Mauk is charged with Driving a Vehicle while Under the Influence of Alcohol ("DUI"), two counts of Vehicular Assault First Degree, two counts of Vehicular Assault Second Degree, and Driving a Vehicle While License is Suspended or Revoked, relating to a two-vehicle collision that occurred on October 18, 2013. Mauk has filed a motion to suppress certain statements she made to the chief investigating officer and a motion to suppress the results of a blood test taken at the hospital. For the reasons stated below, Mauk's motions to suppress are DENIED.

II. FACTS

On October 18, 2013, at approximately 6:49 p.m., Delaware State Trooper Cpl. Scott Mauchin ("Cpl. Mauchin") was dispatched to a two-vehicle collision at the intersection of Concord Pike and Fairfax Boulevard in New Castle County Delaware.[1] When Cpl. Mauchin arrived at the scene around 7:18 p.m., emergency medical technicians, fire department personnel, and two other Delaware State Troopers were already at the scene.[2] Mauk was the only occupant in her vehicle and the second vehicle contained a family of four, including two adults and two children.[3] All of the occupants of both vehicles were transported to Christiana Hospital by ambulance before Cpl. Mauchin had the chance to speak with any of them.[4] According to three independent witnesses at the scene, the accident occurred when Mauk made a left turn across oncoming traffic.[5] A second trooper at the scene advised Cpl. Mauchin that he had approached Mauk's vehicle and could smell alcoholic beverages coming from the front compartment area of the vehicle.[6]

Cpl. Mauchin left the accident scene and went to the hospital, where he arrived between 8:05 p.m. and 8:10 p.m..[7] Upon arrival, after securing permission from Mauk's treating nurse, [8] Cpl. Mauchin made contact with Mauk to make his own assessment of her and to determine what happened at the collision scene.[9]When Cpl. Mauchin entered Mauk's hospital room, she was on a gurney with two IV lines in her arms.[10] The only other person in the room was Nurse Mary Kathleen Fillingame ("Nurse Fillingame").[11] Mauk had been administered 0.5 milligrams of Dilaudid, a narcotic pain medication.[12] Nurse Fillingame, who administered the Dilaudid, testified that 0.5 milligrams is a "very small [dose] for an adult."[13]

When Cpl. Mauchin began to discuss the accident with Mauk, he noticed that Mauk was groggy and her speech was slurred and slow, but her eyes were not dilated or glassy.[14] While talking to Mauk, Cpl. Mauchin also detected a moderate odor of alcoholic beverage on her breath from about two feet away.[15]

When Cpl. Mauchin asked Mauk what happened, she stated that she was turning left on a green light and was hit.[16] Cpl Mauchin asked Mauk if she had consumed any alcohol prior to the collision and Mauk initially said "no."[17] Upon being informed that he could smell an odor of alcohol on her breath, Mauk said "not recently, " and then said that she had two beers at Seasons Pizza.[18] Cpl. Mauchin was familiar with the area, and knew that Seasons Pizza was a few miles north of where the collision occurred.[19]

At this point, Cpl. Mauchin informed Mauk that he suspected that she was driving under the influence and wanted to acquire a blood sample from her.[20] Cpl. Mauchin explained to Mauk that the hospital had an Authorization For Specimen Acquisition form[21] ("Consent Form") that she "needed to sign . . . in order for one of the hospital staff to withdraw blood, but that she could refuse it."[22] Cpl. Mauchin told Mauk ...


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