The impact of the firing of a TBI lab scientist for reportedly switching a blood alcohol sample during a DUI investigation is limited in the10th Judicial District.
Bradley County Assistant District Attorney General Brooklynn Townsend addressed questions on whether any local cases could be affected.
Tennessee Highway Patrol is the only law enforcement agency that sends blood alcohol samples to the Nashville TBI lab for testing, said Townsend, who prosecutes DUI cases in Bradley, Polk, McMinn and Monroe counties, which makes up the 10th Judicial District.
Bradley County sends BAC potential evidence to Knoxville for testing.
Tenth Judicial District Attorney General Steve Bebb issued a statement Friday.Thirty-four total cases in the four counties are currently in the process of retesting by an independent lab.
Five cases in Bradley, five in Polk, 22 in McMinn and two in Monroe County are the number which are expected to be retested for THP cases.
“Some of these cases have been resolved and some are pending,” Bebb noted.
Bebb also sent his statement to attorneys who may have cases pending or resolved.
TBI Special Agent Kyle Bayer, a forensic scientist with the TBI Lab in Nashville, was placed on leave Oct. 3, after “a discrepancy in blood alcohol testing results.”
“This discrepancy was noted due to an independent analysis requested by an individual who had been involved in a motor vehicle accident in Hamilton County. The result of that private analysis was a 0.01 gm percent contrast with the result issued by Bayer, which was a 0.24 gm percent,” said Robert Royse, assistant director of the TBI.
Hamilton County has up to 323 cases in the 2,800 cases analyzed by Bayer, according to reports.
According to TBI’s investigation into the incident surrounding Bayer, “despite extensive training, [he] switched two adjacent blood samples at the onset of the analysis process and then failed to follow a number of procedural checkpoints which would have caught the error. As this was a dual analysis process, it appears the error was then repeated by omission of the same checkpoints a second time when the samples were analyzed in reverse order.”
Bayer was formally relieved of his job Oct. 28 “at the conclusion of the investigation into his actions. As a corrective action, an additional procedural checkpoint by a second analyst was added to the blood alcohol methodology,” Royse explained.
Bebb stated that “TBI has advised us they firmly believed the testing from the Hamilton County case is a single, isolated incident and all indications are that it was, but an independent lab has been contacted to re-analyze every positive test conducted by Kyle Bayer.”
Royse said in his statement “while all indications are that this was an isolated incident, confidence in the results issued by our laboratory is of a paramount importance to the TBI.”
Royse said in his statement that cases analyzed by Bayer, dating back 10 months, are to be re-examined.