On the third day of the fatal hit-and-run trial of former Soddy-Daisy Postmaster Janet Hinds, a prosecution witness shared his estimates of the defendant's blood alcohol content.
Hinds is the motorist accused of hitting and killing Chattanooga police officer Nicholas Galinger at 11:04 p.m. on Feb. 23, 2019, while he was inspecting an overflowing manhole cover on Hamill Road. The driver fled the scene.
Hinds didn't turn herself in, and no field sobriety test or blood alcohol test was performed the night of the crash.
The state says she was intoxicated, and video taken at the Ringgold, Georgia, restaurant Farm to Fork from 7-10:30 p.m. that night shows Hinds drinking 76 ounces of beer and a lemon drop vodka shot before getting behind the wheel.
Mike Lytle, assistant director of the forensic services division of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, estimates that her blood alcohol content at the time of the crash was between .14-.18%. The legal limit in Georgia and Tennessee is .08%
Lytle used a method called retrograde extrapolation to estimate what Hinds' blood alcohol content was at the time of the crash.
"We use what's called the Widmark equation to calculate a person's potential alcohol level based upon that person's size and dosage," Lytle said.
He plugged in averages to the mathematical model to arrive at his conclusion.
The defense argued that the weight of 150 pounds used in the calculation for Hinds was inaccurate, as her weight taken during her intake screening after turning herself in Feb. 25 was 168 pounds. Defense attorney Ben McGowan also argued that other factors used in the equation were not necessarily true of Hinds.
According to McGowan's calculations using Hinds' weight of 168.8, the estimate of her alcohol level at the time of the crash would have been .04-.08.% — at or under the legal limit.
The trial continues Thursday at 9 a.m. in Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don Poole's courtroom.
Contact Emily Crisman at firstname.lastname@example.org.