Drunk driver had unusually high BAL
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Updated: 7:05 PM Dec 18, 2007
Drunk driver had unusually high BAL
The coroner and police are surprised at how high 28-year-old Michael Garner's Blood Alcohol Level was. Garner died this weekend, after his pick-up collided with an oncoming train.
Posted: 5:55 PM Dec 18, 2007
Reporter: Sarah Platt
Email Address: sarah.platt@wndu.com
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It's a case that has some police shocked. A LaPorte man died last weekend after drinking and driving. The man's blood alcohol level was higher than most officials have ever seen, .602.

28-year old Michael Garner's pick-up truck collided with an Amtrak train on County Road 500 in Pinola. That's just west of LaPorte. Over the phone, Garner's father tells Newscenter 16 that his son was apparently drinking at home that night. The family learned of their son's death the morning after it happened. They declined to say much more about the incident.

John Sullivan, LaPorte County Chief Deputy Coroner, says he ran Garner's blood alcohol level a couple of times because he couldn't believe the numbers. Police say Garner drove at least seven miles, through snowy weather, before crashing into the Amtrak passenger train. Officials say the train tried to stop, but couldn't with such little notice. Fortunately, no one on that train was injured in this accident.

Sullivan says he's surprised Garner didn't succumb to acute alcohol poisoning before getting behind the wheel. He says this should be a lesson to everyone about the extreme dangers of mixing alcohol and the road. “It's the highest one I've ever recorded. At the hospital lab, they also said they couldn't recall one that high. Anywhere from .3 on up on the blood alcohol percentage, it changes your ability to react, your reasoning and just your general ability to function,” says Sullivan.

“I’ve seen them high, but never in the 6's, several in the 5's, but over 40 years-- this is the highest one I recall hearing or seeing,” says LaPorte County Sheriff Mike Mollenhauer.

Garner does have a history with drinking and driving. He was charged with an OWI in 1999. In 2001, he was also charged twice for OWI. During one of those stops, he was also charged with driving on a suspended license.

There is help for anyone that might have a problem with alcohol or knows someone who does. Here are some sites recommended to Newscenter 16 by the Madison Center of South Bend.


Here’s a link to a site where you can test yourself to see if you, or a loved one, might have a problem with drugs or alcohol (Http://getfit.samhsa.gov/alcohol/tests/default.aspx).

Madison Center (Quiet Care: ask for Sue) 574-283-1751
Alcoholics Anonymous (South Bend & Mishawaka) 574-234-7007

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