AUBURN – A former Auburn police officer charged with drunken driving is seeking to have that charge dismissed.

Mitchell Sweetser, 42, filed a motion this week in Androscoggin County Superior Court through his attorney, Leonard Sharon.

Sharon argued in the motion that prosecutors took too long to charge Sweetser for a second time after dropping the original charge last year.

Sharon wrote in court papers that Sweetser was told his blood sample taken from the night of a November 2007 car crash was destroyed between the time the trial was scheduled to start in August 2008 and mid-March, when Sweetser was again charged for the same alleged crime.

In his motion, Sharon also wrote that Sweetser had flown an expert to Maine from Wisconsin to testify at trial on Sweetser’s behalf about the state’s blood-alcohol analysis. At that time, prosecutors had failed to find a witness to counter Sweetser’s expert, Sharon wrote. But in the intervening seven months between the time of the dismissal of the first charge and the reinstitution of the same charge, the state had been able to find its expert, according to Sharon’s motion.

Assistant District Attorney Richard Beauchesne said Thursday his office wouldn’t comment on the pending case.

Sweetser reportedly ran a red light on Hampshire Street. He was charged with criminal OUI. His blood-alcohol level was recorded at 0.19 percent, more than twice the legal driving limit. A sergeant at Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office investigated the crash. A police accident report said Sweetser apparently fell asleep behind the wheel.

The 25-year-old driver of the pickup truck involved in the accident died seven months after the crash from accidental pseudoephedrine toxicity. Pseudoephedrine is a drug found in cold remedies. Autopsy results showed there was “no causal connection” linking the driver’s death to the accident, a prosecutor said.

The District Attorney’s Office dismissed the initial charge against Sweetser shortly before his trial to determine whether the other driver’s death was linked to the accident. Sweetser was then charged with criminal OUI in March. He has pleaded not guilty.

In his motion to dismiss, Sharon wrote that the court “indicated” to prosecutors that they should have brought back the charge by October. By taking as long as they did, prosecutors deprived Sweetser of his constitutional right to a speedy trial, Sharon wrote.

Sweetser suffered a serious head wound when he crashed through the passenger window. He also sustained a shoulder injury.

Sharon filed a motion to suppress the test results of Sweetser’s blood taken at the hospital where he was treated after the accident, as well as his statements to a detective who was investigating the case.

A hearing date on the motions had not been scheduled, as of Thursday.


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