Former State Police commander found not guilty

SAULT STE. MARIE – A jury found the former commander of the Michigan State Police Post in Gladstone not guilty of drunken driving following a three-day trial in Chippewa County District Court this week.

William H. Smith, 44, was arrested for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) – a 93-day misdemeanor – after he crashed his vehicle on July 7, 2012, in Chippewa County.

According to test results, Smith’s blood alcohol content was .13 at the time of his arrest compared to the .08 drunk driving standard.

William’s trial began Tuesday and concluded Thursday. The six-person jury deliberated on the misdemeanor charge for two hours before reaching Thursday’s verdict of not guilty.

The trial was the second time the case was in court. The case was dismissed last year due to a technicality. The search warrant used to obtain further evidence, including a blood test, was invalid.

The document was signed by a former Chippewa County court employee who had been relieved of her magistrate duties because of mental health concerns. When the search warrant was ruled invalid, the OWI charge against Smith was dropped.

The case was reopened in late November when assigned to Alger County Prosecutor Karen Bahrman, the second out-of-county prosecutor to handle the case.

Following an internal investigation by the state police headquarters last fall, Smith was demoted from lieutenant to sergeant and was transferred from Gladstone to Lansing. He was suspended 15 days without pay. He is currently working as a desk sergeant at the state police post in Gaylord.