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Breathalyzer Results Ruled Admissible in Coleman Drunk Driving Case

A Franklin County judge's ruling means the wife of Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman is closer to a minimum 3 days in jail for drunk driving. Frankie Coleman's attorneys challenged the certification of the Bexley police officer who administered a breathalyzer test after her car struck a parked pick-up truck in October. But yesterday the judge ruled the officer was properly certified. The breathalyzer test showed Coleman with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit.

Coleman defense attorney Mark Serrott questioned the head of alcohol and drug testing for the Ohio Health Department at length about breathalyzer certification. The defense suggested Bexley police officer Joseph Chapman was not properly certified when he stopped Mrs. Coleman on October 20th. The health department's Dean Ward told the court that the officer had never failed required examinations and that his certification had never expired. Announcing his verdict, Judge Scott Vanderkarr agreed.

""The court finds that the officer's certificate which is state's exhibit Number 2, was proper, was valid at the time of the stop on October 20, 2005 and will overrule the motion to dismiss based on that finding," said Vanderkarr.

Coleman has already entered pleas for failing to control her vehicle,' and driving while impaired. But she has yet to enter a plea on the most serious charge: driving with a prohibited blood alcohol level. Prosecuting attorney Stephen McIntosh.

"As the prosecution, we have the right to decide which one she must be sentenced upon. And we wild ask that she be sentenced on the driving with prohibited blood alcohol. And that's the one that carries the three days in jail and three days in an alcohol education program," Macintosh says.

Judge Vanderkarr set the next court date for December 21st, at which time Coleman is expected to enter a plea. Defense Attorney Serrott said under normal circumstances, he'd advise a client to appeal. But he says Coleman may want to bring the matter to an end.

Mrs. Coleman probably wants to get on with her life. And because of who she is and the scrutiny and the media keeps playing that video over and over which is embarrassing to her and upsetting to her, she probably wants to get it over with too," Serrott said.

Frankie Coleman did not attend yesterday's hearing. Serrott said his client is at an out-of-state treatment center. Sam Hendren, WOSU News.