Utah Nurse Arrested After Refusing Police A Blood Sample From An Unconscious Person

Utah (PT) – Video surfaced on the evening of Aug. 31, 2017. A Nurse at the Salt Lake University Hospital, by the name of Alex Wubbels was arrested, but ultimately released by police after refusing to provide police with a blood sample of an unconscious person, the victim of a deadly car accident on the roads nearby.

Update: The two officers involved in this story, including Jeff Payne are now on administrative leave regarding this incident.

This is the video of the vehicle accident from July 26th, 2017 that caused the entire event;

 

(Officials) declined to release information about the patient, but Jeff Payne’s report identifies him as 43-year-old William Gray, a reserve officer in the Rigby, Idaho, Police Department, who suffered burns during a July 26 crash in Cache County.

Fast forward a month after this event took place and there is still an heir of secrecy, but The Salt Lake Tribune described;

Footage from University Hospital and officer body cameras shows Detective Jeff Payne and nurse Alex Wubbels in a standoff over whether the policeman should be allowed to get a blood sample from a patient who had been injured in a July 26 collision in northern Utah that left another driver dead.

 

This confrontation between Detective Payne and Wubbels is slippery, to say the least. Wubbels essentially throws Payne under the rock-and-hard-place. In most cases, Implied Consent takes control in instances of a DUI/DWI investigation. However, the detective failed to brandish a warrant, which is the policy of the hospital in which Wubbels works regarding patients unable make decisions of their own free will. A policy that had been agreed upon by both hospital officials, and the Salt Lake Police Dept… According to Wubbels attorney.

In a written report, Payne said he was responding to a request from Logan police to get the blood sample, to determine whether the patient had illicit substances in his system at the time of the crash. Payne explained the “exigent circumstances and implied consent law” to Wubbels, but, according to his report, she said “her policies won’t allow me to obtain the blood sample without a warrant.”

Payne — who says he wanted the blood sample to protect the patient, not punish him — said he was advised by Lt. James Tracy, the watch commander on duty that night, to arrest Wubbels for interfering with a police investigation if she refused to let him get the sample, according to his report.

Tracy said in his report that he spoke on the phone with Wubbels and told her he believed that they had implied consent to get the sample, but she cut him off and said she would not allow the draw without a warrant. He then went to the hospital and tried to tell the nurse why she was in custody, but “she appeared to not want to hear my explanation,” Tracy wrote.

Porter, however, said “implied consent” has not been the law in Utah since 2007, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that the Constitution permits warrantless breath tests in drunken-driving arrests, but not warrantless blood tests. She stressed that the patient was always considered the victim in the case and never was suspected of wrongdoing.

 “I either go away with blood in vials or body in tow,” Payne says
 The actions of this Detective are absolutely unprofessional, and seem to reach that brink of police overreach that irks the world. Making more-and-more real the reality in which we live ever more Orwellian in nature.

Salt Lake police Sgt. Brandon Shearer said the department started an internal investigation, which is ongoing, in response to the incident.

Payne was suspended from the department’s blood-draw program — where officers are trained as phlebotomists so they can get blood samples — but he remains on duty with the Police Department, Shearer said. The department also has held training for the officers in the program as a result of the incident, he said.

Wubbels is right to stand her ground with her statement regarding the released video.

“I can’t sit on this video and not attempt to speak out both to re-educate and inform,” she said. Police agencies “need to be having conversations about what is appropriate intervention.”

Wubbels was not charged, and this is a pure example of citizens standing up to the police where the people they interact with are concerned. Even if the person is a complete stranger.

Alex Wubbels and other staff at Salt Lake University Hospital Utah.

Editors note; Much of this article was quoted from The Salt Lake Tribune, the article may be viewed here.