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Beasley v. Director of Revenue

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division

September 16, 2016

TANNER C. BEASLEY, Appellant,
v.
DIRECTOR OF REVENUE, STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Greene County Honorable J. Ronald Carrier, Associate Circuit Judge

          OPINION

          WILLIAM W. FRANCIS, JR., J.

         On July 15, 2014, the Director of Revenue ("Director"), revoked the driving privileges of Tanner C. Beasley ("Beasley"), pursuant to section 577.041, [1] for failure to submit to a blood test after Beasley was found to be driving while intoxicated ("DWI"). On December 19, 2014, a post-revocation hearing was conducted and the trial court found in favor of the Director. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         We recite the facts of this case in accord with the principle that we defer to the finder of fact on issues of contested fact. White v. Director of Revenue, 321 S.W.3d 298, 308 (Mo. banc 2010). Where the facts are uncontested, no deference is necessary because the trial court's assessment of the evidence is unnecessary. Id.

         On July 6, 2014, at approximately 4:57 a.m., Sergeant Stephen Foster ("Sgt. Foster"), [2] with Troop G of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, responded to the scene of a one-vehicle accident in Shannon County. Upon arrival, Sgt. Foster observed a jeep off the roadway, on its driver's side in a ditch. He also observed an entire row of road signs (six)-a tenth or two-tenths of a mile before the accident scene-that had been knocked down and driven over. A seventh sign, also knocked down and driven over, was near where the jeep left the roadway. Sgt. Foster noticed numerous beer cans laying throughout the vehicle that had spilled out into the jeep from a cooler.

         Sgt. Foster made contact with first responders who informed him that Beasley was the driver of the vehicle, there was a passenger, and Beasley had been airlifted to Cox South Hospital in Springfield with substantial serious injuries.

         During his investigation at the scene, Sgt. Foster spoke with the passenger, identified as Dylan Hanger ("Hanger"), multiple times. Hanger stated both he and Beasley had been drinking, and that it was Beasley's 21st birthday. Hanger first stated that Beasley had swerved to miss a deer, ran off the road hitting a sign, and overturned. Later when asked about the multiple downed road signs, Hanger stated Beasley had intentionally driven off the roadway and started "knocking [the signs] down" which had made him "nervous." Sgt. Foster concluded that "it was apparent that at some point . . . whether it was intentional or unintentional, the jeep struck the sign and the results of that impact caused the jeep to overturn onto the driver's side." He then reported to Troop G dispatch, who in turn contacted Troop D of the Missouri State Highway Patrol in Springfield requesting an officer make contact with Beasley at the hospital.

         At approximately 5:20 a.m., Trooper Roger Myers ("Trooper Myers")[3] arrived at Cox South Hospital to make contact with the driver involved in a one-vehicle crash in Shannon County. Dispatch had advised that the driver was "possibly intoxicated, " and identified Beasley as the driver. Beasley arrived at the hospital at 5:46 a.m.

         Trooper Myers first made contact with the flight crew of the helicopter that transported Beasley, both of whom advised that Beasley had vomited during the flight, smelled of intoxicants, and was definitely intoxicated.

         Trooper Myers then attempted to interview Beasley. He advised Beasley as to why he was there, but received no response. He asked Beasley what happened and again received no response. Trooper Myers asked Beasley if he had been drinking, but Beasley's reply was unintelligible. Trooper Myers then placed Beasley under arrest, read Beasley Missouri's Implied Consent warning, and received a short unintelligible response from Beasley. Trooper Myers asked Beasley if he would submit to a blood test, but received no response. A nurse who was also present in the room shook Beasley and asked Beasley if he would provide a blood sample for the trooper, and Beasley stated, "No." The nurse then told Beasley he would lose his license for one year if he refused, and Beasley again stated, "No." Trooper Myers did not ask Beasley to take a breath test due to extensive lacerations to Beasley's face. Trooper Myers advised Beasley that he was interpreting Beasley's actions as a refusal, Beasley would be receiving something in the mail, and

         Trooper Myers left. It was Trooper Myers' observation that Beasley was not incapacitated. Trooper Myers completed an alcohol influence report.

         The Director revoked Beasley's driver's license for a period of one year, pursuant to section 577.041, for Beasley's refusal to submit to a blood test. Beasley appealed to the Circuit Court of Greene County, Missouri.

         A trial was held on December 19, 2014. On January 9, 2015, the trial court entered its "Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Judgment, " finding there was sufficient evidence for Trooper Myers to conclude that Beasley was in an intoxicated condition while operating a motor ...


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