SAULT STE. MARIE - A drunken driving case against a state police post commander in the Upper Peninsula has been dismissed.
A Chippewa County judge on Wednesday threw out the case against Lt. William Smith following an evidentiary hearing. Smith was arrested in July by police in Sault Ste. Marie for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated following a traffic crash involving a personal vehicle.
The case was dismissed after the judge decided that a test of Smith's blood-alcohol level couldn't be used as evidence in the case. Prosecutors said they were disappointed by the decision.
A message seeking comment from Smith was left Thursday by The Associated Press.
Smith was appointed commander of the Gladstone post in April. He was suspended with pay following his arrest.
Meanwhile, law enforcement officials will be stepping up drunk driving patrols in several Michigan counties over the Labor Day weekend through the federally-funded "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign.
Participating Upper Peninsula counties include Delta, Marquette, Houghton, and Chippewa.
In 2011, law enforcement officers across the state arrested 230 people for drunk driving during a similar enforcement effort in late August and early September.
"More people died in alcohol-involved crashes in August than in any other month in 2011, and four people died in crashes involving alcohol during last year's Labor Day weekend," said Michael L. Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning. "Michigan law enforcement officers are experts at catching drunk drivers. They know all the tricks and have heard all the excuses. If you drive drunk you will be arrested, so make the smart decision and find a safe and sober ride home."
While the number of alcohol-involved fatalities has continued to decline, crashes involving alcohol are eight times more likely to be fatal than those not involving alcohol. Last year, 319 people were killed in impaired driving crashes.