This story was updated Thursday, July 11, 2019, at 7 p.m. with more information.
A judge says Janet Hinds, the 55-year-old charged with hitting and killing a Chattanooga police officer, violated her release conditions and he increased her bond amount and the number of drug screenings she must take.
At a hearing Thursday, Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don Poole reasoned that Hinds had failed to call in to probation in June, in contrast to the three times she'd successfully reported for her drug test in March, April and May. Though her defense attorney argued that environmental contaminates and certain foods could have caused the positive alcohol test, Poole agreed with prosecutors that her test results were high enough to suggest she had consumed alcohol within two or three days of the failed screening.
The judge increased her bond of roughly $160,000 to $175,000, meaning Hinds will remain in custody at Silverdale Detention Center until she pays the difference in amount. He ordered her to take one drug test a week and two random drug tests each month. And he set the next court date for Sept. 4, at which time attorneys likely will select a trial date.
Hinds faces 10 charges, including vehicular homicide by way of intoxication and driving under the influence, in the Feb. 23 death of 38-year-old Chattanooga police officer Nicholas Galinger. While prosecutors say her drinking and speeding contributed to the fatal incident, her defense attorneys, Ben McGowan and Marya Schalk, have argued Galinger wasn't visible as he inspected an overflowing manhole on Hamill Road: The road sign over the manhole had lost its reflective cover, Galinger and his field training officer were dressed in blue and not wearing reflective vests, their cruiser lights weren't on, and it was dark and raining.
The issue of bond emerged after Hamilton County probation officials said Hinds violated her release conditions by testing positive for alcohol. According to court documents and testimony, Hinds did not call in to probation personnel on June 20. When contacted the next day, Hinds agreed to a random drug screening that came back positive for alcohol, probation officer Shannon McDonald wrote in a report. Based on that information, Judge Poole agreed to revoke Hinds' release and give her "no bond."
After quickly agreeing to have a hearing, Poole said on July 1 that he wasn't ready to rule on whether Hinds had violated her release conditions. Since early March, Hinds has been on house arrest and under constant supervision and testing via two separate alcohol- and location-monitoring devices. She cannot drive, drink alcohol or take drugs, walk to her mailbox or accomplish tasks outside her home without help from family or friends. Her release from the Silverdale Correctional Facility came after General Sessions Court Judge Alex McVeagh reduced the bond amount on March 5 on her vehicular homicide charge from $250,000 to $100,000, leaving her overall bond amount around $150,000.
On Thursday, attorney McGowan renewed his argument that Hinds hadn't intentionally consumed alcohol and that her drug screening was subject to debate. He said "environmental contaminates" such as household items with alcohol in them may be involved and pointed to a report from an ankle monitoring company in Atlanta that evaluated six factors, including a failed one for such contaminates. But District Attorney General Neal Pinkston said "the same literature" McGowan was referring to indicated that Hinds could have been drinking within two or three days of the test.
Barry Galinger, the father of the deceased, said he and his family have been traveling to each court hearing from Savannah, but the grief never eases.
"We cry quite a bit on the way home," he said, tears welling up in his eyes. "Because no matter what happens, our son's never coming home. He's never coming back. His kids will never see their daddy."
Contact Zack Peterson at email@example.com or 423-757-6347. Follow him on Twitter @zackpeterson918.
Contact Rosana Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6327. Follow her on Twitter @hughesrosana.