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OWI probe moves forward

Commander on paid leave during probe

October 4, 2012
Jenny Lancour - staff writer ( , Daily Press

LANSING - The commander at the Michigan State Police Post in Gladstone continues to be on paid leave while headquarters investigates an alleged drunken driving charge against him.

Lt. William H. Smith, 43, was arrested three months ago following a one-vehicle accident in Chippewa County. He was charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, a 93-day misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $500.

The case was later dismissed in Chippewa County District Court due to a technicality. The search warrant used to obtain further evidence, including a blood test, was invalid, said Daryl Vizina, Cheboygan County prosecutor who was assigned to represent the state in the case.

Dispatch directed police to obtain the search warrant from a former Chippewa County court employee who was no longer serving as magistrate because she had been relieved of her duties due to mental health issues, Vizina explained.

Because the former court employee was not legally authorized to sign and execute the search warrant, any information police obtained under the document during the investigation could not be considered as evidence, he said.

Smith began serving as commander at the Gladstone Post on April 1. Since his arrest on July 7, he has been on paid leave, said Tiffany Brown of the public affairs department at the Michigan State Police Headquarters in Lansing.

Smith continues to be suspended from work with pay pending the completion of an internal investigation of the incident, Brown told the Daily Press on Wednesday.



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