Iowa Man Passed Sobriety Tests, Charged with OWI; Now Suing City
*The photo above is a stock photo and is not any of the people mentioned in this story.
An Iowa man is suing a central Iowa city and one of its police officers. The suit comes after an incident last year in which the man's lawsuit says he was the victim of unreasonable seizure, false arrest, and common-law negligence.
On Saturday, October 15, 2022, just after 9 p.m., Ryan Elgin was stopped while driving through Winterset with a woman and her child. Elgin, now 42, was stopped by Winterset police Officer Logan Camp.
According to the Des Moines Register, a lawsuit filed by Elgin says that Camp initiated the traffic stop even though he says the officer didn't see any equipment or traffic violations.
Camp asked Elgin to take part in field sobriety tests, which he did. According to his lawsuit, Elgin says he showed no signs of intoxication in taking the tests.
A preliminary breath test at the scene showed Elgin had a blood-alcohol level of .047. Iowa's legal limit is much higher, at .08.
Officer Camp then transported Elgin to the Madison County Law Enforcement Center, where Elgin's blood-alcohol level was tested again. This time, it came back .037.
Elgin was then asked for a urine sample so that it could be used for a drug screen. He again complied and was released just under two hours after he'd initially been pulled over.
The Des Moines Register says Winterset police records show that less than an hour after Elgin provided the sample, Officer Camp contacted the Iowa Department of Human Services. He reportedly told them of a possible child-endangerment charge, which resulted in an investigation by Iowa DHS.
A couple of months later, the Iowa DCI reported that lab tests showed Elgin had no illegal drugs in his system. However, his urine sample tested positive for Citalopram. Elgin had previously told police he took the medication, via a prescription.
According to Drugs.com, people who take Citalopram should "not drive or operate machinery until the full effects of Citalopram are known as it may impair your judgment and affect your ability to drive or operate machinery."
After the urine test results were received, an arrest warrant was issued for Elgin. He was charged with both child endangerment and operating a vehicle while under the influence. In the police report tied to Elgin's arrest, Officer Camp said Elgin showed "clues of intoxication" and smelled strongly of alcohol.
The Des Moines Register reports that Elgin's lawsuit claims that after the urine test results, Camp told the Iowa Department of Transportation that Elgin had tested positive for Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substances. The Department of Transportation then began to seek a one-year revocation of Elgin's driver's license. It's unclear if Elgin lost his license.
This spring, county prosecutors dropped all charges against Elgin. Information on why the charges were dismissed is not available.
Elgin filed his lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. He seeks unspecified damages from the City of Winterset and Officer Logan Camp. Neither the city nor Camp has responded to the lawsuit.
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