The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Auto Racing

October 17, 2013

Speedway president: Track has strict alcohol abuse policies

Driver arrested after crash last weekend

(Continued)

Police are still working to determine if and how Lathan was intoxicated, though preliminary reports indicate alcohol as the likeliest possibility. According to Anderson Police Department spokesman Joel Sandefur, officers smelled alcohol on Lathan's breath after the race and spoke to several witnesses who claimed Lathan had been drinking alcoholic beverages between races.

Early on Sunday, Anderson police also obtained a warrant to take a blood sample from Lathan. Sandefur said after talking to witnesses they believed a sample was necessary and believed they had enough evidence to allow for one.

The sample is to be tested at a lab for to determine what Lathan had in his system Saturday night. Sandefur said the results won't be back for a couple of weeks.

Dawson said he had never seen Lathan at the track before the incident. He said Lathan arrived late and didn't practice or qualify for any races.

"And that's not uncommon. We have a lot of first-timers," he said.

Dawson said he's pleased that the track's safety procedures work. Lathan was quickly removed and should not have been able to return.

"But there's no way to anticipate that he would've done that," he said.

Dawson said he's now turning his attention to this Saturday's races, UAW Paint the Night Pink season championships. The event is one of the biggest nights of the season, he said, and there will be a special emphasis on safety.

"We can't be responsible for what people to do themselves and what they do to others, but we can do our best to identify any possible dangers before they happen," he said.

Attempts to reach Lathan on Friday were unsuccessful although someone who answered a call placed to his cellphone said Lathan recently left Anderson to "get out of town for a while."

Lathan entered a plea of not guilty to the charges. His next court date has been set for Dec. 6 in Anderson City Court.

Like Jack Molitor on Facebook and follow him @aggiejack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.

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