Man charged with DWI, causing injury in UTV crash last fall
Gainesville resident Michael Lee Goins has been charged with the class E felony of driving while intoxicated resulting in an injury in connection with a Sept. 5, 2020, utility terrain vehicle (UTV) crash on T Highway that left a woman injured.
He is scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 9, before Associate Circuit Judge Raymond Gross.
The prosecutor’s felony complaint alleges that Goins “operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, and acted with criminal negligence by failing to control the vehicle, driving it of the roadway and into a tree, and as a result, caused physical injury….”
The class E felony carries a sentence of up to four years in prison.
Arriving on scene
According to the probable cause statement filed in the case prepared by Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. L. Elliott, the officer was dispatched to a vehicle crash involving a UTV with unknown injuries on T Highway near Mammoth at 7:19 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5.
Elliott wrote in the report that he arrived at the location about 30 minutes later, at 7:51 p.m., and first responders and Ozark County Ambulance personnel were on scene.
Elliott said he immediately began an investigation and found that Goins, who was being treated by EMTs in the back of the ambulance, was the driver of the UTV. Elliott spoke with Goins in the ambulance, but the suspect seemed to have trouble answering the officer’s questions.
“He seemed confused and mumbled as he spoke,” Elliott wrote.
While on scene, the officer then spoke with Goins’ girlfriend, who was riding as a passenger in the UTV at the time of the crash.
The passenger’s account
The woman reportedly told the officer that she and Goins were traveling westbound on T Highway in the UTV when he lost control of the vehicle and ran off the right side of the highway. Elliott notes in the report that it was obvious the woman had sustained serious physical injuries to one of her arms during the crash.
She reportedly said that Goins had taken a few shots of whiskey and had drunk some beer prior to the crash. She said Goins was ejected from the UTV and pinned under the driver’s side of the vehicle following the crash.
The woman was later transported by private vehicle to Baxter Regional Medical Center in Mountain Home, Arkansas, where she was treated for the injuries she sustained in the crash.
A question as to the level of intoxication
After speaking with the woman, Elliott returned to Goins, the report says. “[I] asked him how much he had to drink,” Elliott wrote. “Goins indicated he had one whiskey and one beer but could not elaborate any further. I attempted to obtain a breath sample from Goins with my PBT but he was unable to provide an adequate sample. He did provide a very small puff of air that tested positive for alcohol.”
The PBT, otherwise known as a portable breath test, was activated manually due to the inadequate breath sample, and Elliott wrote that the sample tested at .057 percent.
It is illegal for Missouri drivers to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher. Although the reading was under the .08 percent limit, Elliott believed Goins had a higher blood alcohol content.
“Based on my training and experience, I believe his actual blood alcohol content was well over this amount. I did observe Goins’ eyes were bloodshot and watery, but I did not attempt any other field sobriety testing based on his physical condition at the time. While speaking with Goins, I was standing behind him as he lay on a backboard, and I was unable to detect the odor of intoxicants about his person, even though he admitted to consuming them,” Elliott says in the report.
At 8:10 p.m., Ozark County Ambulance paramedic Hunter Ryan withdrew a blood sample from Goins, and Elliott placed the sample into evidence. The sample is being stored in the MSHP Troop G property control room and will be tested in the facility’s laboratory to determine the blood alcohol content.
Goins was released to the emergency medical personnel, who treated him for the injuries he sustained in the crash.
“My investigation revealed the UTV had traveled off the right side of the roadway and over a very steep embankment. It struck several small trees and overturned as it went down the embankment,” Elliott’s report reads. “It came to rest on its driver side, facing northeast. There was blood on the ground under the driver side of the UTV where Goins had been pinned. I also observed several containers around the vehicle. The UTV was identified as a red and black 2008 Arctic Cat Prowler XT 650.”