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Expert: Driver was impaired

Defense claims notwithstanding, Coulter Mann was impaired when his truck smashed into a car and killed its driver, an expert witness for the prosecution said Friday at the former assistant principal’s trial.

Mann, who was Crescent Elk Middle School’s assistant principal at the time of the wreck, faces charges of driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury with an enhancement of great bodily injury, driving at or above 0.08 blood alcohol content causing injury with two enhancements of excessive blood alcohol content and great bodily injury and failure to drive on the traveled portion of the roadway.

The charges stem from a crash on Dec. 21, 2012. Mann was driving his 2003 GMC Sierra truck north on U.S. Highway 101 when, at around 8:54 p.m., it veered into the southbound lane and hit a 2005 Ford Focus that 67-year-old Klamath resident Kenneth G. Jones was driving south of Fred Haight Drive.

State criminalist Deborah Enns, who analyzed Mann’s blood sample taken two hours after the crash, testified Mann had a blood-alcohol count above the legal limit of .08 at the time of the crash, according to calculations she performed based upon the defense’s admission of how much alcohol Mann drank that night.

She testified that Mann could have had a BAC higher than .20 at the time of the crash, since that was the BAC he registered when the blood test was administered at 10:55 p.m.

Enns drew upon other factors of the crash to illustrate Mann showed signs of impairment: poor decision making in driving after drinking, bad driving, not being able to recollect what happened at the time of the crash and not braking or swerving when his truck began entering the opposite lane and forcing another truck off the road before colliding with Jones’ car.

“All of those are signs of mental impairment to me,” said Enns.

She also testified against a potential stance the defense could take that Mann’s BAC rose after the crash, stating his BAC wouldn’t have spiked post-crash because of his steady drinking while he was at a party for four hours before attempting to drive home to Brookings.

When asked by one of the defense attorneys, Ed Mann, about whether there could have been an irregular spike in Coulter Mann’s BAC, she stated, “There’s no indication of that to me.”

In his opening statement Wednesday, defense attorney Dain Weiner said Mann was not impaired at the time of the crash. Weiner alluded to the possibility that stomach trauma from the crash could have forced more alcohol into Mann’s small intestines, which is where a majority of alcohol is introduced into the bloodstream when drinking.

Deputy District Attorney Todd Zocchi is expected to rest the prosecution’s case Monday. The defense is then expected to take one and a half days to present its case, including testimony from Mann and an expert to flesh out the defense’s stance that Mann was not impaired while driving.

Reach Anthony Skeens at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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