BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — District Attorney T. Michael Anderton issued a release regarding mistakes made in the handling of a DUI case involving a school bus driver.
According to A.G. Anderton, Mark Edmond Pierce’s application into the Jefferson County DUI Deferred Program was accepted in error.
On January 31, Pierce was arrested for driving under the influence after being involved in a school bus crash. No students were on the bus at the time of the wreck and no one was injured. Pierce’s Blood Alcohol level registered at 0.15% after his arrest.
Pierce was scheduled for a court date on March 27. At that time, he applied for the Jefferson County DUI Deferred Prosecution Program, which is designed to allow first-time defendants to complete a treatment program and have their charge dismissed. There are strict guidelines applicants must meet to be accepted. A.G. Anderton argues that Pierce knowingly did not meet these guidelines.
According to the release issued by the A.G.’s office, some of the requirements to be accepted into the program include having a blood alcohol content less than 0.15% at the time of the arrest and that the DUI charge is not related to an accident involving another vehicle, personal injury, or substantial property damage.
In addition to initialing lines certifying that information was true, Pierce also initialed a line that state he understood that if he was found to have knowingly provided false information on the application, he would be discharged from the program, adjudicated guilty of the charge, and sentenced.
A.G. Anderton reasoned that the discrepancy with Pierce’s blood alcohol level may have come from a Deputy District Attorney agreeing to change the stipulated level to .14%, which Anderton says should not have happened. Anderton also argued that the damage caused to the bus during the crash was substantial enough to disqualify him from the program. According to the release, the Deputy District Attorney may not have known about the damage to the bus at the time.
Lastly, A.G. Anderton pointed out that according to the Code of Alabama, people with commercial licenses or who drive a commercial vehicle are not eligible for any deferred prosecution program if they violate a traffic law.
The District Attorney’s Office is working to have Pierce removed from the Jefferson County DUI Prosecution Program for providing false information in his application. Officials are holding a press conference on Wednesday at 1 p.m. to further discuss the details.