Sunday, November 10, 2002

UK student killed by car was intoxicated, campus police say

The Associated Press

LEXINGTON, Ky. - A University of Kentucky student killed by a car when he walked into a campus intersection last weekend had a preliminary blood alcohol reading more than three times the legal limit, according to UK police.

Eric Vetter, 19, of Louisville, was hit at 4:28 a.m. EST when he stumbled into the intersection of South Limestone and Cooper Drive, said UK police spokesman Travis Manley.

Mr. Vetter's preliminary blood alcohol level was 0.251, Mr. Manley said. Kentucky's legal limit is 0.08.

Mr. Vetter died Tuesday at UK Medical Center from a head injury sustained in the accident, according to a Fayette County Coroner's report.

Witnesses said Mr. Vetter had passed out in the turning lane of Cooper Drive, was helped to his feet, then stumbled into South Limestone, according to police.

The driver of the vehicle, Dustin Hatton, 19, of Lexington, had a green light as he traveled north on South Limestone, police said. Mr. Hatton told police he did not see Mr. Vetter in the street.

Mr. Hatton was charged with drunken driving and failure to have a driver's license in his possession.

However, Mr. Hatton was shaken up by the incident and could not blow the necessary amount for a preliminary Breathalyzer test at the scene, Mr. Manley said.

Mr. Hatton was taken to UK Medical Center, where a blood sample was taken.

Mr. Manley said the blood samples for Mr. Vetter and Mr. Hatton were sent to the Kentucky State Police laboratory. Official results will not be available for four to six weeks.

Mr. Hatton pleaded not guilty Thursday to the charges against him in Fayette District Court. A hearing was set for Dec. 12.

Fayette County Attorney Margaret Kannensohn said Mr. Hatton could face additional charges, such as manslaughter or reckless homicide.

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