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State v. McCullough

Court of Appeals of Oregon

August 6, 2014

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
ALAN GEORGE MCCULLOUGH, Defendant-Respondent

Argued and Submitted July 29, 2013

Jackson County Circuit Court. 105458MI. Lorenzo A. Mejia, Judge.

Jamie K. Contreras, Assistant Attorney-in-Charge, argued the cause for appellant. With her on the brief were John R. Kroger, Attorney General, and Anna M. Joyce, Solicitor General.

Anne Fujita Munsey, Senior Deputy Public Defender, argued the cause for respondent. With her on the brief was Peter Gartlan, Chief Defender, Office of Public Defense Services.

Before Ortega, Presiding Judge, and Sercombe, Judge, and Hadlock, Judge.

OPINION

Page 7

[264 Or.App. 497] SERCOMBE, J.

In this criminal case involving a prosecution for driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII), defendant moved to suppress evidence obtained after a trooper entered his trailer without a warrant. In response, the state contended that the trooper's entry into defendant's trailer was constitutionally permissible under the " emergency aid" exception to the warrant requirement. The trial court concluded that there was not a " true emergency" under that exception and granted defendant's motion to suppress on that basis. The state appeals the order suppressing evidence. ORS 138.060(1)(c). We conclude that the motion to suppress was correctly granted. Accordingly, we affirm.

The only evidence offered at the hearing was the trooper's testimony; no photos or other evidence was offered. We describe the facts consistently with that evidence and with the trial court's findings to the extent that they are supported by the evidence. State v. Ehly, 317 Or. 66, 75, 854 P.2d 421 (1993). Because we conclude that the trooper's entry into the trailer was not justified under the emergency aid exception, we focus primarily on the facts leading up to that entry.

One evening, Kimball saw a pickup truck belonging to defendant parked the wrong way on Highway 62. Kimball did not see defendant, but he did see blood on and around the truck. Kimball went to defendant's trailer to check on him. He saw blood near the trailer and leading up to the trailer; however, no one answered the door when he knocked. Kimball then called 9-1-1.

Trooper Neville was dispatched to the truck's location. When he arrived, Fire Chief Miller was already at the scene. Neville saw a truck with substantial front-end damage. From the scene, truck, and tire marks, Neville ascertained that the truck had been traveling east but had crossed over the

Page 8

westbound lanes, where it struck a pile of large rocks on the shoulder, " flipped around a little bit," and came to rest facing west. Examining the truck more closely, Neville saw blood " droplets and spattering" in and around the pickup truck. Neville also saw that the passenger side [264 Or.App. 498] of the truck was so filled with clothing and paperwork that it appeared that there could have been no one except the driver in the vehicle at the time of the crash. The driver of the truck was no longer on the scene. Neville described his state of mind at that point as follows: " I [knew] that there had been a crash, someone had been hurt, and my job is to make sure that person is okay."

Neville and Miller then drove to defendant's trailer. On a ramp leading to the trailer door, Neville saw drops of blood. Neville knocked on the door and announced that he was a police officer, but received no response. Through a window next to the door, Neville saw " blood spatters" in the trailer entryway, as well as a rag smeared with blood on the floor. Neville believed that the person involved in the crash was in the trailer and decided that he " needed to make sure that the person [who] was in the wreck was okay and to check on their well-being." After knocking several more times to no response, Neville opened the trailer door and went inside. Miller--whom ...


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