Modesto man says sick friend led him to drive drunk

6:12 PM, Apr 5, 2013   |    comments
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MARSYVILLE, CA - A drunk driver who avoided prosecution because he was rushing a sick friend to the hospital is asking that all evidence of his arrest be destroyed.

Kenfield Alldrin, 57, a Modesto almond rancher, was pulled over at 2:22 a.m. on June 10 by a Marysville police officer, who watched him run at least two stop lights while driving at twice the posted speed limit.

Alldrin frantically explained that his friend was in extreme pain from a kidney ailment and would die if he didn't get a catheter at the hospital.

Alldrin and his friend, Robert Murray, had been staying at a remote mountain cabin in Plumas County with no cell service.

While doctors treated Murray in the emergency room, Alldrin failed a field sobriety test and a breath test indicated a blood alcohol content of .10, just over the legal limit.

Alldrin said he'd had wine with Murray earlier in the evening, but did not feel intoxicated.

Alldrin said in a sworn statement that he met an ambulance while driving toward Marysville, but the ambulance crew did not have the ability to insert a catheter and was not eager to transport Murray.

Yuba County District Attorney Patrick McGrath said his office chose not to prosecute Alldrin because a conviction would have been unlikely, given the element of medical necessity.

"The last thing you want to do is have people come in, miss work, sit on a jury and say this was a total waste of time," McGrath said.

Although Alldrin avoided criminal prosecution, the DMV suspended his license Friday following an administrative hearing.

The DMV does not recognize necessity as a defense in DUI administrative cases, according to John Campanella, Alldrin's attorney. 

Campanella has filed a petition with the Yuba County Superior Court seeking to have Alldrin's arrest record sealed, which would restore his driving privilege.

"We want to have the arrest removed from his record," Campanella said. "We also want him to be found factually innocent."

Campanella argues that Alldrin should not have been arrested in the first place because the police officer was aware of the extreme circumstances.

"Police, district attorneys, judges - they're given the power to enforce the law, but some discretion should be used," Campanella said. "This case is a clear example where discretion should have been used."

But McGrath said California law does not allow for the sealing of an arrest record unless an actual mistake has been made.

"There's a difference between saying 'I'm factually innocent' versus 'well, I had a legal defense,'" McGrath said.

A judge will consider Alldrin's argument at a hearing scheduled for April 15.

By George Warren, 


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