A charge of driving under the influence of drugs in the East Hampton accident that killed a Virginia man will be dismissed against Brian K. Midgett, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney's office.
Midgett's attorney, Susan Menu, said on Thursday that the toxicology reports showed no drugs or alcohol in his system and cellphone records proved he was not talking or texting on his cellphone at the time of the crash.
Following her announcement, DA spokesman Robert Clifford said he expects the pending charge in East Hampton Town Justice Court to be dismissed at the next scheduled court date on Oct. 4.
"Given the negative results of the toxicology tests and this office’s determination, informed by the analysis of cell phone records, that the defendant had not in fact used his phone prior to or at the moment of the collision, the People will not pursue criminal charges against Mr. Midgett," Clifford said in an email Thursday afternoon.
He confirmed that Midgett's toxicology results were negative for ethanol (alcohol) and for the presence of "active drugs" in his system at the time of the crash. "The test did reveal a THC metabolite that would be consistent with marijuana use approximately two days before the crash," Clifford said.
Midgett was driving a pick-up truck that crossed into the opposite lane on Route 114 on the afternoon of July 29, hitting a Volvo SUV head-on. Douglas Foster Schneiderman, 51, of McLean, VA, was killed. His wife Elisabeth Schneiderman and 16-year-old daughter Rachel Schneiderman were hospitalized with serious injuries.
Clifford confirmed that an empty Hydrocodone bottle was found in his pick-up truck. "Police appear to have had reasonable cause to believe that Mr. Midgett was driving while ability was impaired," prompting them to levy the charge, Clifford said, adding police also noted observations "with respect to his physical appearance."
"The lack of corroborating evidence however will not allow the People to meet our legal burden to prove this case," he explained.
Menu said the DA's office did a good job of investigating the case, but that the police acted prematurely. "Whatever is in my car is a little irrelevant," she said. "If there's an empty bottle of something, that's not illegal."
East Hampton Town police filed a charge of driving under the influence of drugs against Midgett and a desk appearance ticket — similar to a ticket drivers receive for a traffic violation — was issued on the day of the crash for Midgett to appear on a DUI charge for arraignment on Aug. 23.
The arraignment was postponed as the Vehicular Crimes Unit was still investigating.