Michigan breathalyzer technician sentenced to 9 months in jail for falsifying documents

click to enlarge Michigan breathalyzer technician sentenced to 9 months in jail for falsifying documents

A technician who falsified documents that certified the accuracy of breathalyzer tests in Michigan was sentenced to nine months in jail and three years of probation.

David John, 59, of Kalamazoo, created fictitious documents to falsely suggest he tested and repaired two Datamaster DMT breathalyzers to ensure they were accurate. The breathalyzers were used by the Alpena County Sheriff’s Office.

John, who worked for Intoximeter Inc., created the certification using a spare breathalyzer at his home. He then copied and pasted the certifications to create two false certifications, according to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

“Mr. John’s crimes were not just a violation of his contractual obligations – his actions compromised the integrity and the public's faith and confidence in the criminal justice system,” Nessel said in a statement Thursday. “His failure to uphold the trust placed in him by the people of this state is an egregious act of misconduct, and he will now be held accountable for that behavior. I am grateful for the work of our department’s Public Integrity Unit and the coordination and support of the Michigan State Police throughout this process to ensure the matter was handled with the public’s best interest at the forefront.”

Judge Paul Bridenstine of Kalamazoo County 9th Circuit Court handed down the sentence Monday.

A criminal case against a second technician, Andrew Clark, was dismissed on Dec. 9 by Judge Julie O’Neill of the Eaton County 56-A District Court, who cited a lack of evidence.

In January 2019, state police notified law enforcement across the state to stop using more than 200 breathalyzers from longtime vendor Intoximeters. Investigators at the time said they suspected fraud after finding discrepancies in paperwork.

Stopping the use of the breathalyzers "is an absolutely necessary move to safeguard the integrity of the criminal justice process," Michigan State Police Director Col. Joseph Gasper said in a news release in January, adding, “I am no longer comfortable having police agencies using these instruments until we can be confident they are certified, calibrated and serviced according to state law and industry standard.”

It wasn’t clear whether the potentially flawed breathalyzers have prompted authorities to dismiss charges against people arrested for drunken driving.

The state ended its contract with Intoximeter in April 2019.

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
Scroll to read more Metro Detroit News articles


Join Detroit Metro Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.