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Illinois man accused of fatal Cedar Rapids crash wants blood testing kept out of trial
He argues that he did not consent
CEDAR RAPIDS — An Illinois man, who is accused of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs when he crashed his pickup into an SUV on Interstate 80, killing a man and injuring two other people in 2021, wants blood results suppressed at trial because he objected to the testing.
A lawyer for Tyler Sherman Lee, 36, of Rockton, Ill., argued during a hearing Wednesday that police obtained a search warrant to test Lee’s blood after the March 7, 2021, crash, and although Lee objected to the test, police took it anyway. Police also did not offer to take a breath test, as they should have, according to the search warrant.
Lee is charged with homicide by vehicle — operating while intoxicated — and homicide by vehicle — reckless driving — and two counts of causing serious injury by a vehicle. He remains in jail under a $200,000 cash only bond.
Lee also is charged with murder in Illinois for a 2017 fatal shooting in Winnebago County. Illinois court records show he was out on bond at the time of the crash. His trial remains pending in Illinois.
Iowa City Police Officer Dale Dellimore, who was a Cedar Rapids officer in 2021, testified during the hearing that he thought Lee was impaired and while at the hospital, Lee had slurred speech, watery and bloodshot eyes and could not complete the sobriety tests. Lee also was “fidgety and agitated,” which could be attributed to the crash and impaired driving.
Dellimore said it was difficult to determine if Lee was impaired by alcohol or drugs and further testing was needed. So he obtained a search warrant to test Lee’s blood. Lee had admitted to drinking alcohol at a bar that night.
During a body camera video played at the hearing, Lee repeatedly questioned the validity of the search warrant and objected to giving a blood sample. Lee, more than once, said he would consent because the police officer was telling him he did not have a choice.
He reviewed the warrant and objected again but then rolled up his sleeve for the medical technician to draw his blood.
Dellimore said Lee didn’t object to giving a blood sample. He objected to giving the sample based on the search warrant, or that was Dellimore’s understanding.
Robert Montgomery, Lee’s lawyer, repeatedly asked Dellimore if Lee refused to give a blood sample. Dellimore said Lee questioned the validity of the search warrant and did object to giving the blood sample.
Montgomery pointed to 12 times in Dellimore’s deposition where Dellimore said Lee objected.
Dellimore admitted he didn’t offer to give Lee the breath test, which was available at the Linn County Sheriff’s Office. He didn’t think Lee was objecting to the blood test itself. It was more about his objection to the search warrant, the officer said.
In Montgomery’s written motion, he also argued that the subsequent testing of the blood exceeded the scope of the search warrant, and he asked the court to suppress those results.
According to court records, Lee’s blood alcohol content was 0.164 after the crash — twice the legal limit, which is .08. In the subsequent testing conducted by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Lee’s blood tested positive for opiates, amphetamines, cocaine and marijuana metabolites. Testing also confirmed the presence of oxycodone, cocaine and ecstasy.
The prosecution, in its written motion, argued although the search warrant didn’t call for testing on the Lee’s blood for controlled substances, it was “lawful.”
Sixth Judicial District Judge Kevin McKeever took the arguments under advisement and gave the defense and prosecution two weeks to file any further written arguments.
According to a criminal complaint, Lee's Ford F-150 pickup was headed south on I-380's northbound lanes when it crashed into a Chevrolet Suburban near the Seventh Street exit around 2 a.m. March 7, 2021, killing David Nguyen, 23, of Cedar Rapids, and seriously injuring two other people.
Witnesses told police Lee had entered the interstate on the 29th Street NE exit nearly 2 miles north of the crash site, according to the complaint.
Police said Lee 'admitted he had been drinking but claimed he was not driving.
Nguyen was the front passenger in the Suburban and died at the scene.
The driver of the SUV, Rylee Brooke Wallingford, 20, and passenger Benjamin Phillip Brecht, 23, both of Cedar Rapids, were seriously injured. The third passenger, Skyler McDowell, 22, also of Cedar Rapids, was treated for minor injuries.
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