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Kentucky New Era

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Amish buggy wreck

Test shows truck driver was sober

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Posted: Saturday, August 27, 2011 1:29 am

A truck driver from Illinois who has waited at Christian County Jail for the last seven weeks, facing a murder charge, had his test results returned this week. They show the condition of his blood at the time he crashed into an Amish buggy on July 8.

The driver, Mark Bohms, was clean: no drugs, no alcohol, said his defense attorney, Rick Boling.

A grand jury will consider this result when it reviews the evidence against him, likely within two weeks. Jurors will have the chance to reduce his charges or dismiss them.

When Hopkinsville police arrested Bohms, they believed he was intoxicated on stimulants and depressants, and charged him with murder, Officer Caesar Sierra later said in court.

Bohms, 53, was driving for a Wisconsin-based shipping company on the evening of the wreck. Around 8:30 p.m., as he drove north on Fort Campbell Boulevard between Interstate 24 and the Wal-Mart Distribution Center, he approached a horse-drawn buggy from behind and  crashed into it.

Pieces of the buggy flew all over the road. Barbara Smoker, a 3-year-old passenger, died at the scene. Her grandparents and sister were treated at a hospital and later released.

Bohms told police he had reached down to get a cigarette as he crested a hill, traveling at 57 mph. When he looked back to the road, he saw the buggy and swerved toward the left lane, but could not avoid the collision, he said.

He repeatedly told police he had not taken any medications, according to court records. Police did not find any medicine bottles or pills in his truck.

Bohms mostly spoke clearly, though he was unstable on his feet and acted erratically, Sierra wrote.

A Kentucky State Police officer who has training in drug recognition later evaluated Bohms and surmised he had taken medications.

A sample of Bohms’ blood that went to a KSP lab came back this week. Commonwealth’s Attorney Lynn Pryor called Boling and said the results showed Bohms had been sober, Boling said.

Bohms did not register surprise when Boling told him about the test results.

“His exact words were, ‘I told you that I had not taken anything and I knew there was nothing going to be in my blood, and nobody wanted to believe me,’” Boling told the New Era.

Boling does not believe Bohms’ actions qualify for any crime — including reckless driving.

“I don’t see it as reckless,” Boling said. “Clearly it’s not wanton. It’s nothing more than an automobile accident.”

The New Era could not reach Pryor for comment on Friday.

Boling asked Christian District Judge Arnold Lynch about scheduling an immediate hearing to have Bohms’ bond reduced. Lynch advised Boling to wait for the grand jury’s ruling.

The grand jury meets nearly every Friday morning. Pryor told Boling she would likely present the case in early September.

As for evidence collection, the truck Bohms was driving contains a box designed to record data during crashes. KSP does not have proper equipment to remove the box and download the data, so the trucking company will do it instead. A judge ordered Wednesday that a KSP or HPD officer attend.

Bohms is unmarried and has no children, according to court records. Before the wreck he made about $425 every two weeks. Sierra said Bohms had driven trucks for about 17 years.

Reach Nick Tabor at 270-887-3231 or ntabor@kentuckynewera.com.

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11 comments:

  • meme71 posted at 12:03 am on Thu, Sep 8, 2011.

    meme71 Posts: 1

    Wow, it is so hard so see the hypocracy in these statements. People are quick to judge without cause or with the minimal skewed" facts" they derive from the paper. Bohms is not the innocent that people make him out to be nor is he a hero for killing a little girl. The ignorance reflected by the comments posted here can only be attributed to small town inbreds who look to demonize the police for not allowing them to drive drunk, steal, sell dope, or commit lurid acts with children. Instead of making random comments the information is available to this case through an open records request. Try reading something without pictures and make educated statements before jumping to conclusions. Those of you that dont know or have ever had any association with officer Sierra you can not judge him. If you had, you would see that it took several hours of testing to make an arrest decision. Bohms was evaluated by Ofc Sierra and a drug recognition officer and questioned with the attempt to derive a medical condition that may account for the symptoms Bohms was displaying (P.S. none are associated with shock). Obviously if people believe this to be a visceral reaction to this incident they are wrong. Again, if you had read the arrest report you can see that officer Sierra was not the one persuing the murder charge but rather it was a decision coming from the Commonwealth attorney's office. After speaking to an attorney friend, who is a defense attorney, they explained that if the probable cause exisited for the DUI. (yes probable cause not beyong reasonable doubt for the CSI fan) then the other charges had to be placed. Reason, if you only charge with DUI he could plea to that and if the other charges are not in place the facts of the DUI can not be used in court for the prosecution. There is more, but then again you have to read. I'm sorry if you got turned down by a cop or wish to sleep with one. I am sorry that it is easier to type an unsupported opion as opposed to making a reasonable articulate statement. As for John Hendry, he was not a police officer but rather a deputy jailer at the Christian County Jail. Again facts are not needed when making uneducated opinions. My heart goes out to the little amish girl who's life was cut short for a cigarette. Regardless of the toxicology report you have a truck driver who did not care what happened as he drove down the roadway. After seventeen years as a "professional" driver it is hard to call this an accident when it occured in broad daylight, on a flat roadway, with caution signs all over the place. You all should be ashamed of yourselves!! Final point, if your child is laying in the road dead I hope the officer that responds stand there, walks away and takes the EASY path of saying oops it was just an accident.

     
  • season88 posted at 12:02 pm on Tue, Aug 30, 2011.

    season88 Posts: 1

    Can't say it was a big surprise that the guy's tox screen was negative or that this crappy so called JUSTICE system had him sit in jail for 7 weeks. How I wish I could truly write on here what I think about this town and the laws in it, and it would not have mattered if he was from this town, he would have still gotten the same treatment. The fact remains the same in Hoptown if you are not sleeping with a cop or someone that is supposed to uphold the law you are screwed. Take it from me I lost everything, was humiliated, my son and I were traumatized, won't go into all the details but perhaps if I had been a badge bunny maybe some slack would have been shown to my family. I don't and will never trust the authorities in this town. It is like none I have ever seen. And apparently there is no innocent until proven guilty here.

     
  • Pulchritude posted at 12:27 am on Tue, Aug 30, 2011.

    Pulchritude Posts: 1

    How the officers here in Hopkinsville Ky are acting and the judicial system period here is acting doesn't surprise me. In 2007 an officer name John Hendry or however you spell his name, hit me and my ex on Christmas Eve. He blew up on his breathalyzer 2 times over the legal limit and he got his charges dropped because the officer who did the breathalyzer didn't show up to court nor was he summoned to come to court to clear up the confusion that came up from the questioning of the results. So my accident case went from a 'drunk to sober' to "sober to sober' from one court hearing.Then in February the story came out in the Kentucky New Era as if the accident had happened in February and as if my ex had hit him when he had hit us. Of course the Kentucky New Era was addressed and they fixed the problem and printed the correct details the next day but its just sad how little towns like these don't serve justice equally unless you just mesh really good with who is given temporarily power. Yes i was upset but "Vengeance is mine thus said the Lord." So I let GOD fight all my battles for GOD is the true judge when all is said and done. =) Stay Blessed Everyone. =)

     
  • barbermiss posted at 11:25 pm on Sun, Aug 28, 2011.

    barbermiss Posts: 6

    The loss of life is numbing to say the least…especially for one so young. Adrenalin and guilt ridden, no wonder Mr. Bohms was unable to pass their on sight test. Something he will probably never get over. Then to rub salt in the wound “charged” with murder? When did we go from “Innocent till proven guilty” to “Guilty till proven innocent”? I sure hope that the correct verdict (and speedy) is given to him in this tragic ACCIDENT. Oh …and cop bashing is not helping anyone. We weren’t there…Officer Caesar Sierra was…and he is human, susceptible to mistakes like us all. My prayers go out to all involved in this tragedy.

     
  • 18538 posted at 11:09 am on Sun, Aug 28, 2011.

    18538 Posts: 3

    It was a tragic accident and a shame what happened that day, but what if it had happened to you - how would you feel knowing that everyone thought that you were drunk or stoned when this occured.
    I understand the precaution and reasoning behind getting blood-alcohol tests taken at or immediately after the accident, but it is completely uncalled for to crucify this truck driver by holding him for 7 weeks with a murder charge hanging over him. Who paid his bills while he was in jail. I'm glad the KNE posted the tested results on the front page instead of burying it somewhere on page 6.
    Is Officer Caesar Sierra and the HPD going to officially apologize and testify in court as part of his defense that he wasn't intoxicated or on drugs? This is inexcuseable and a major blemish for the HPD. This is something that I'd expect from the Christian County Sheriff's Dept, not the HPD. This makes one question the accuracy of all Police reports; ie: the Gentry dog shooting case.

     
  • patty52 posted at 9:37 am on Sun, Aug 28, 2011.

    patty52 Posts: 8

    We the people of Hopkinsville could start calling Judge Lynch or Lynn Pryor to express our concern and ask for Marks immediate release or at least a bond reduction. this is a blackeye on our town.

     
  • angry posted at 7:26 pm on Sat, Aug 27, 2011.

    angry Posts: 1

    How sad it took so long for the results to come back and that Mark had to sit in jail with half the world disbelieving him. This story was far reaching when it seemed to be a notorious drunk and drug user had caused an accident. Now that it is clear that the police and authorities who were so adament he was a murderer were wrong, why isn't the news spreading out all over the world to be wary of getting arrested in the state of Kentucky?

     
  • SouthernL8d posted at 1:47 pm on Sat, Aug 27, 2011.

    SouthernL8d Posts: 1

    I am so glad his tox came back clean. Law enforcement in this case needs to go back to training. When you think about it, how many of us reach for something and take our eyes off the road, he is no different than any other person in the general population. This was just an unfortunate accident that wasn't handled in a professional manner. Everyone wants to blame the truck driver but it isn't all ways the drivers fault. My first thought when this all happened and it was commented that he stayed in the truck instead of getting out to help was that his company may have told him over the Qualcom to stay in the truck and not help because of the liability that it may incur. People crucified this driver and all drivers in earlier post when this story first happened... not what are your thoughts?

     
  • Turkey Trot posted at 10:46 am on Sat, Aug 27, 2011.

    Turkey Trot Posts: 87

    WHY does it take 7 WEEKS in this back-asswards state to get blood-tox results? Glad that State Trooper was trained...how about RE-TRAINING?? This man's career is in the tank. Maybe the Trooper could use some training to recognize SHOCK when he sees it. All he saw was an out-of-state driver. BEWARE if "you ain't from around here". Soldiers included. They'll hang you for dropping a gum wrapper on the sidewalk.

     
  • onlyiwillremain posted at 8:50 am on Sat, Aug 27, 2011.

    onlyiwillremain Posts: 4

    The guy was sober. He's been in jail for 7 weeks with a murder charge weighing on him, lost his job, etc. His life is essentially ruined. It was a tragic accident, but not murder. The people killed in the accident can't be brought back through making this guy miserable.

    The problem I have with this is the aggressive police and prosecution. Apparently the police had no evidence he had been using stimulants; just their "gut instinct". "Gut instinct" on a MURDER charge.

    What ever happened to "beyond reasonable doubt" and "innocent until proven guilty" and "reasonable suspicion" and habeas corpus and logic and reason?

    Now that the test results are back, he should be let out on time-served until new charges, if any happen, are pressed. But that isn't going to happen; he's going to continue to be held, in jail, until trial. That's messed up.

    Is it because he's from out of town? Is that what it is? Easy Mark?

    I guess the police and prosecution in this county operate as follows: Charge people with the most heinous crime possible, and if it's proven to be untrue via the blood tests, or -you know- science, they still don't drop the charges; even though it's the right thing to do.

    If you get the right morons on a jury, they'll convict even if evidence says that they shouldn't. People in groups are dangerous enough, but then give them a little power and logic and reason go out the window.

    ANYONE on the jury for this should be told about "jury nullification" and should take it to heart and do the right thing for this guy.

    It isn't about doing the right thing anymore, I guess. I feel so sorry for this guy.

    Horrible accident? Yes. Murder? No. Let the guy go.

     
  • chardun posted at 3:13 am on Sat, Aug 27, 2011.

    chardun Posts: 2

    This seems to an accident, he should be released. Why is his income part of the story. I am sure his life is already ruined.