METS Director posts bond - KOAM TV 7

METS Director posts bond


July 3, 2013 at 12:00 PM CST:  Authorities say Jason Smith turned himself in and bonded out on Tuesday.

Arrest documents we obtained Wednesday show Smith told troopers he had consumed seven drinks throughout the day - three at his home, one at his first stop and three more at a Joplin bar before he decided to drive home.

Read the June 30, 2013 Probable Cause Statement


July 2, 2013 at 5:09 PM CST:  The Missouri State Highway Patrol defends its decision to release a man charged with driving while intoxicated.  MHP says decisions like this are up to a trooper's own discretion, as long as the trooper follows all local and state laws.

During our investigation we found doing the crime doesn't always mean also doing the time.

An arrest report shows Jason Smith, the Director of METS Ambulance in Joplin, passed a field sobriety test but failed a breathalyzer test at a Jasper County DWI checkpoint at around 1 a.m. on Sunday.

The field test was done with a calibrated breathalyzer, with results that can be used in court.

Smith was arrested by the highway patrol, but was not taken to jail.

"If there is a means, or reason, that we need to release that person instead of taking them down to post bond at the sheriff's office then we do that," says Sgt. Mike Watson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Sgt. Watson says "it could be any number of reasons", including medical reason.

"The whole purpose in them posting bond is ensuring that they're going to come back for court," says Sgt. Watson.  "So, there may be specific reasons, and I'm not saying this case, where the trooper does know this person would come back to court."

The highway patrol says someone was called to the scene and allowed to drive Smith and his vehicle home.

"Based on whatever circumstances the trooper sees that the courts here have given us the latitude that if there is a means, or reason, that we need to release that person instead of taking them down to post bond at the sheriff's office, then we do that," says Watson.  "The bottom line is this impaired driver was taken off the road."

Asked why people are taken to jail instead of offering to let someone pick them up, Watson says "each situation is different, so I can't speak for all law enforcement."

The Jasper County prosecutor says DWI charges have been filed against Smith and a warrant for his arrest has been issued.

We spoke with Smith while he was at work Monday but he did not want to be interviewed on camera.

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