Woman charged in DUI death of LMPD officer initially said 'unkno - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Woman charged in DUI death of LMPD officer initially said 'unknown person' was driving her vehicle

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Lexington woman accused of killing a Louisville Metro Police officer and another man in a drunken driving wreck in October had a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit but initially told police “an unknown person” was driving her vehicle, according to court records.

Suzanne Whitlow agreed to talk with police after the wreck, at first denying she was the driver after her vehicle drove “up on the sidewalk” and killed LMPD Detective Jason Schweitzer and University of Kentucky employee Timothy Moore on Oct. 29 in Lexington.

But she later “admitted that she ‘might have told the police officer I was driving,’” according to court records. Police said her speech was slurred “and her ability to communicate was extremely choppy.”

A hearing in the manslaughter case is set for Thursday in Fayette Circuit Court when an attorney for Whitlow will ask a judge to throw out evidence because blood was drawn from Whitlow without her consent while she was in a hospital.

A witness to the wreck told police he saw only Whitlow in the vehicle. Police found a beer can on the driver’s floorboard and a container of beer bottles behind the driver’s seat. Police also said Whitlow was the only person in her vehicle. 

An officer observed Whitlow sending text messages immediately after the wreck, with one allegedly saying “I [expletive] up.”

The Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office has turned over more than 400 pages of documents, grand jury testimony, hundreds of pictures and other evidence to the defense. The evidence is not available to the public.

According to her arrest report, Whitlow admitted to police she had “multiple” drinks before getting behind the wheel.

Because Whitlow was injured, police did not give her a portable breathalyzer test, instead taking blood from the hospital. 

In a court filing, Lexington attorney Jerry Wright, who represents Whitlow, argues that officers violated her rights by failing to get a search warrant. A judge signed a court order allowing the hospital to take blood from Whitlow, but Wright claims that "no such authority" exists under state law for police to get such an order. 

Wright cites a U.S. Supreme Court case which ruled “a warrantless blood test was not reasonable” unless the defendant consented. She has a blood-alcohol level of .237. The legal limit in Kentucky is .08.

In a response earlier this month, prosecutors argue the order by the judge allowing blood to be taken is the same as getting a warrant and police violated no laws. 

Detective Schweitzer began working for the Jefferson County Police Department in November of 2001. He was a detective in LMPD's 6th Division. Schweitzer, was also the vice president of the River City FOP Lodge 614. He began serving in that role in 2010.

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