Man Facing DUI Charge Says Officer "Made An Honest Mistake"; Officer Says He Got The Right Man

Monday, June 10, 2019 - by Joseph Dycus
James D. Mathis
James D. Mathis

A Chattanooga man on Monday contested his DUI charge in front of the police officer who charged him, with his attorney saying that the officer may have “made an honest mistake.”

On Aug. 26, 2017 on Shallowford Road, James D. Mathis, 34, was pulled over by officer Ryan Lynn after allegedly driving far above the speed limit. According to Officer Lynn, he needed to drive 80 miles per hour on the 40 mile per hour road to catch up to Mathis’ vehicle.

After failing the sobriety test, Mathis was charged with reckless driving and driving under the influence.

The case centered around whether or not the officer pursued the correct man. Dashcam footage was presented to the court, and several details appeared to be unclear.

Despite officer Lynn stating that he could see the color of the vehicle, the footage showed it was very difficult to tell due to how dark it was at the time.

When the defendant’s attorney, Robin Flores, questioned him on this, Officer Lynn stated “My eyesight reads better than this video.”

“So are you saying you have eagle eyes,” asked attorney Flores.

“I don’t know what eagle eyes look like, sir,” responded the officer. 

According to Officer Lynn, there was only one vehicle in between him and Mathis’ vehicle. Because the other vehicle possessed a third brake light, he also used that detail to distinguish between the two vehicles. The video corroborated this part of his testimony.

There was also evidence of Officer Lynn asking another officer what to charge him with, and whether this chase qualified as a pursuit. Officer Lynn claimed it was not a pursuit because Mathis was not aware he was being followed or pursued. Attorney Flores countered by asking how Officer Lynn could know what Mathis was thinking.

Judge Don Poole said he would need some time to review the testimony and dashcam video before ruling on it.


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