Criminal Court Judge Don Poole said he will issue an opinion on whether to throw out the blood alcohol draw or the search of a vehicle in connection with the hit-and-run incident in which rookie Chattanooga Police officer Nicholas Galinger was killed on Feb. 23, 2019.
Ben McGowan, who represents former Soddy Daisy postmaster Janet Hinds, said the warrant for the blood draw did not tell the time the incident occurred on Hamill Road near Bethel Bible Village.
He said an incorrect address was given in a couple of places on the warrant to search the damaged white Honda CRV found in the driveway of the home of Ms. Hinds. She lives at 207 Port Dr. The address is correct in the affidavit, but 209 is listed in the warrant.
Lead traffic investigator Joe Warren said it was a result of "fat fingers" as he typed the warrant at the scene on somebody else's police laptop propped up against the steering wheel.
On the blood draw, attorney McGowan said a magistrate would likely have not authorized a blood draw had they known it had been 36 hours since the incident. He said alcohol would dissipate during that time. He said the blood alcohol draw showed no alcohol - only a sleep aid.
Police said Ms. Hinds had drinks at the Farm to Fork restaurant in Ringgold prior to driving home that night. Officer Galinger was struck as he was leaning over an overflowing manhole cover.
Prosecutor Cameron Williams said the car search warrant should not be thrown out, saying the warrant included a description of the car in the Hinds driveway.
Officer Warren said vehicle parts were found at the wreck scene. He said one officer Googled a part number and found it belonged to a Honda CRV. It was found there were about 400 Honda CRVs in Hamilton County at the time.
The veteran officer said it was initially broadcast that a dark-colored car was involved. He said after the officer's body camera was examined it was found it was a light-colored car.
Officer Warren said he got a call that officer Guissepe Truncone had spotted a white Hondra CRV with heavy front end damage in a driveway at Port Drive, which is out in the county. He said he drove to the scene. He said he could tell from the roadway that there was damage that would have been more likely if a pedestrian was hit than a collision with another car.
He said he and other officers went to the front door, but no one responded. He said he instructed officers there not to touch the Honda.
Officer Truncone said he volunteered to help in the search and he began checking out neighborhoods north of the incident. He said he came upon the damaged Honda and called into headquarters. A number of other officers quickly arrived at the scene.
He said he had begun his search around 9 or 10 a.m. on a Sunday after the Saturday night incident. He said he located the vehicle around 1 or 2 in the afternoon.
"I could see that the windshield was smashed," he said.
Ms. Hinds at first hid out and went on the TBI's Most Wanted List. She then turned herself in. She was charged with vehicular homicide.
She is free on bond after initially being in custody.
The trial is set for July 19. Judge Poole said he was sorry the case had taken over two years to try, but he said over a year had been lost to the coronavirus.
Barry Galinger, the victim's father, watched the hearing via Webex.