Defense attorney: Former Nampa Fire Chief DUI case to go to trial
The attorney for a former Nampa Fire Chief, who faces a DUI charge for allegedly rear-ending a car on the freeway while riding his motorcycle, said he plans to take his client’s case to trial.
Karl G. Malott, 53, pleaded not guilty to one count of misdemeanor excessive DUI when he appeared in 3rd District Court last November for arraignment.
According to court documents, on Sept. 24, 2016, Malott was riding his 2011 Harley-Davidson for a charitable cause when he hit a 2004 Chevy Malibu from behind while traveling east on Interstate 84 in Payette County.
Malott was not wearing a helmet at the time and was thrown from the motorcycle, suffering serious injuries. The two occupants of the Malibu were not injured.
One witness to the crash said that it appeared that Malott intended to exit the freeway, but then changed his mind and tried to return to his lane, which caused the collision. Another witness, an Elmore County medic who gave Malott first-aid, told officers that Malott was speeding, swerving in and out of lanes and that he smelled strongly of alcohol.
The benefit ride Malott was on that day had five stops at bars in Nampa, Garden City, Emmett, New Plymouth and Caldwell. On Sept. 28, 2016, while lying in a hospital bed, Malott allegedly told an officer from a that he was on the last stretch of the charity ride when the accident occurred.
He allegedly told the officer that he had consumed one 12-ounce light beer at four of the five stops, spending about an hour at each location where he drank.
Police say Malott admitted that he had not been sleeping well and that sleep deprivation may have been a factor in the incident.
Shortly after the crash in September, Malott was taken to Saint Alphonsus Medical Center via helicopter in critical condition at which point staff drew a sample of his blood for analysis. Results from test indicate that Malott had a blood-alcohol content of 0.24.
The legal limit in Idaho is 0.08.
According to court documents, former Payette County Prosecutor Anne-Marie Kelso forwarded those results to Idaho State Police on Nov. 10 and an officer cited Malott for DUI shortly after.
However, Judge Brian Lee threw out that evidence out in a decision dated April 18, citing the fact that the a written disclosure in Malott’s toxicology report stated that the information was obtained for medical purposes and cannot be used in legal matters.
The judge wrote that blood samples used as evidence in criminal cases must be analyzed in a state approved laboratory “to ensure consistency, reliability and validity of results.” Malott’s attorney Joseph Miller had also moved to throw out the statements that Malott allegedly made to the state trooper from a hospital bed, citing violation of Malott’s Miranda rights.
The judge did not throw out that evidence and Payette County Prosecutor Ross Pittman wrote in a court document that Malott made the alleged statements to the officer on his own volition and that he had not been detained by police, which would have required the officer to inform Malott of his Miranda rights.
Malott’s attorney Joseph Miller confirmed Friday that no resolution has been reached in the case and that he is planning to proceed with trial beginning Oct. 5.
“We are maintaining that he was not intoxicated and that the crash was caused by the driver of the Malibu,” Miller said.
Facing disciplinary action by the city, Malott resigned as Nampa Fire Chief in December. He was named Chief in 2009.
Nampa spokeswoman Vickie Holbrook said in November that Malott will get the same benefits as all city employees, including a payout of unused personal leave. She said he will also have access to his personal retirement fund.
Ryan Thorne is the cops/courts and digital first reporter. Follow him on Twitter @Allbuzinezz.