Will delays in drawing suspect's blood impact accused cop killer's trial?

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association president is crying foul at what he calls "stonewalling" by the legal staff at MetroHealth Medical Center when officers tried to get blood drawn from the man accused of hitting and killing an officer on Interstate 90.

Officer David Fahey was killed by a hit-and-run driver on the interstate in January. Israel Alvarez has been charged in the incident.

"Normal protocol is to get them booked, get them charged, and do chemical analysis on them to see what state of mind he was in," said CPPA president Steve Loomis.

That means blood is taken and later scanned for any drugs or alcohol. But when officers brought Alvarez to MetroHealth, Loomis says they got something they didn't expect.

"They were stonewalled by the administration at MetroHealth," Loomis said.

Loomis praised the medical team at MetroHealth, especially those who worked on Fahey. His words aren't so kind for the hospitals lawyers, who believed the wording on a warrant ordering the blood draw wasn't correct.

"It was an absolutely clear order by a judge in Common Pleas Court. It was worded, 'medical facility, take blood,'" Loomis said.

A hospital spokeswoman says it "wasn't specific enough" and the warrant "needed to specify what they wanted."

Loomis said that in time, Judge Steven Gall, who signed the warrant, learned of the standoff and took action.

"Getting in the car, driving to the hospital, and having a talk with the people that were stonewalling him," Loomis said.

A prosecutor was there, too. The blood was drawn, but 2 1/2 hours had passed, and time impacts blood test results.

"These things are filtered out of your blood fairly quickly," Loomis said. "Heroin, for example, does not last for a long period of time in your blood and every minute really counts to get a true representation of what was going on at the time of the accident."

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