An Oregon truck driver who was charged with DUI after crashing a truck full of salmon last year says he has a rare condition which causes his body to brew its own alcohol.
Trucker Spills 11,000 Fish On Highway
Trucker Ray Lewis, 45, works for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and was hauling 11,000 juvenile salmon when he rolled his truck after being startled by a deer on the McKenzie River Highway near Eugene, spilling the fish. The fish were all killed.
Lewis suffered significant injuries, including a broken rib, a broken arm, a dislocated shoulder, injury to his eye socket, a concussion, and a “scalping”-type head laceration.
Driver’s BAC Was Three Times The Legal Limit
Lewis’s BAC was nearly three times the legal limit at .29 when he was tested after the crash.
He is appealing his drunk driving conviction on the grounds that his body brews its own alcohol — a rare condition that recently made headlines when a New York judge threw out a woman’s DUI charges after he was presented with evidence she suffered from “auto-brewery syndrome.”
Lewis says his wife became suspicious of his behavior after he stopped taking his pain medication. After hearing about auto-brewery syndrome, she purchased a Breathalyzer machine. Lewis reportedly blew a 0.02 to a 0.14 several times without ever consuming alcohol.
Doctor Confirms Rare Condition, But D.A. Calls It “Bunk Science”
While an Ohio doctor has confirmed Lewis’s diagnosis, the District Attorney called it “bunk science” and the judge did not allow the jury to hear any evidence suggesting that Lewis suffered from auto-brewery syndrome. Lewis was convicted on DUI charges on January 15. He is facing two years of probation and $385,000 in restitution and legal fees.
Lewis is appealing the conviction.
While still technically employed by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Lewis has a meeting with his employer on February 8. He expects to be fired at that meeting.