The Herald Bulletin

November 8, 2013

Tests show Speedway driver was under influence

Alcohol, controlled substances in man's system at time of crash

By Traci L. Moyer
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — Laboratory results for an Anderson Speedway race car driver who is alleged to have intentionally crashed his vehicle into another racer’s car reveal he was both intoxicated and under the influence of two controlled substances.

Tommy Grant Lathan, 49, of Anderson, had a blood alcohol content level of .114, said Anderson Police Department spokesman Detective Joel Sandefur.

The legal limit is .08.

The lab results also showed the presence of benzodiazepines and Alprazolam, which Sandefur said are both controlled substances.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, benzodiazepines are one of the most widely prescribed medications in the country and are used to treat several conditions, including insomnia and anxiety, and “are often taken in combination with other drugs of abuse by patients with addiction disorders.”

The medicine has sedative, anti-convulsant, anti-anxiety and muscle-relaxing properties.

Alprazolam is also a benzodiazepine, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Lathan was arrested in October after he allegedly crashed into another race car on purpose, according to police. Lathan had been black-flagged, which required him to leave the race, but he returned to the track and crashed into another race car.

No one was injured in the accident, but officers who responded to the scene noticed a strong smell of alcohol on Lathan’s breath and arrested him.

“He refused to blow (a field sobriety test) so a blood draw came as a result of getting a search warrant, and he was arrested on his refusal,” Sandefur said.

Lathan was initially arraigned on charges of operating while intoxicated, one count of criminal recklessness and one count of intimidation pending the results of a blood test.

With the results from the lab, Sandefur said the Madison County prosecutor can now formally charge Lathan with driving while intoxicated and under the influence of the controlled substances.

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