from the Iowa District Court for Dallas County, Randy V.
Hefner (motion to suppress) and Paul R. Huscher (trial),
appeals his conviction for homicide by vehicle while
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Robert P. Ranschau,
Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Genevieve Reinkoester,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Mullins, P.J., and Bower and McDonald, JJ.
Krutsinger appeals his conviction for homicide by vehicle
while intoxicated. We find the district court did not err in
denying Krutsinger's motion to suppress based on his
claim he was denied the right to make a telephone call and
there was sufficient evidence in the record on the issue of
causation. We affirm Krutsinger's conviction.
Background Facts & Proceedings
February 27, 2015, Justin Krutsinger went to the home of Keri
Hanzlick in Waukee at about 5:30 p.m. Krutsinger and Hanzlick
had one to two drinks before going to a restaurant for
dinner, where Krutsinger had two or three bottles of beer. On
the way back to Hanzlick's home, they picked up a
twelve-pack of beer and a bottle of vodka. Krutsinger had a
few more drinks while they watched a movie. Krutsinger fell
asleep for a short time, and when he woke up, he started
crying. Hanzlick testified "he thought we were being
watched, kept asking why they were watching us."
Krutsinger became upset and a little agitated. He gathered
his belongings and left Hanzlick's house at about 11:00
about midnight, Krutsinger, who was driving a Chevrolet
Malibu, was involved in a collision with a Pontiac Grand Prix
driven by Heidi Harkrader on Highway 6, just east of Adel.
The crash data retrieval system in the Malibu showed
Krutsinger was driving 116 miles per hour at the time of the
collision and did not touch the brakes prior to the crash.
Krutsinger drove into the back of the Grand Prix, forcing it
off the road, and it eventually hit a house. There was an
open can of beer in the center console of Krutsinger's
vehicle and a partially full twelve-pack of beer in the
backseat. Harkrader died at the scene as the result of
injuries sustained in the collision.
registered nurse, Diana Wenger, who was the first person on
the scene of the accident, testified Krutsinger had an odor
of alcohol, was slurring his words, and was agitated.
Officers who were assisting in the incident also testified
Krutsinger had bloodshot, watery eyes, he had an odor of
alcohol, and he was agitated. The paramedic and emergency
medical technicians (EMT) who treated Krutsinger gave similar
testimony. Krutsinger was taken by ambulance to the hospital
for an assessment of his injuries. Two public safety officers
from the hospital testified Krutsinger appeared to be
impaired by alcohol. The emergency room physician, Dr.
Richard Sidwell, testified Krutsinger was verbally aggressive
and he believed Krutsinger was intoxicated. Krutsinger became
so agitated at the hospital he was handcuffed to the bed for
a period of time for the safety of medical personnel.
about 1:30 a.m., State Troopers Jody Elliott and Corey
Champlin of the Iowa Department of Public Safety came to the
hospital. Krutsinger was released from the handcuffs shortly
thereafter. He was given a Miranda warning. Trooper
Elliott asked for a preliminary breath test, and Krutsinger
either asked if he needed a lawyer or stated he wanted to
call a lawyer. Trooper Elliott stated Krutsinger could call a
lawyer. Krutsinger immediately stated he would
take the preliminary breath test, so he was given the test.
There was a telephone in the room, and Trooper Elliott
stated, "I would have let him make any number of phone
calls that he wanted to make."
the course of the discussion, Krutsinger stated he wanted to
call a lawyer so he could leave the hospital. Trooper Elliott
told Krutsinger, "You can call a lawyer, but you're
not leaving." Krutsinger was informed he was being
detained, and he then changed the subject and began talking
about something else. Trooper Champlin read Krutsinger the
implied consent advisory. Trooper Elliott asked Krutsinger if
he wanted to call a friend, family member, or attorney and
Krutsinger said, "No." Krutsinger was asked for a
blood test; he refused but agreed to a urine test. The urine
test showed Krutsinger had an alcohol level of .200, well
above the legal limit of .08.
was charged with homicide by vehicle while intoxicated, in
violation of Iowa Code section 707.6A(1) (2015). He filed a
motion to suppress, claiming he was denied his statutory
right to make a telephone call, pursuant to section 804.20.
The district court found, as to the first exchange,
Krutsinger decided not to call an attorney but to submit to
the preliminary breath test. For the second exchange, the
court found Krutsinger's conduct conveyed the message he
did not wish to call an attorney. For the third exchange, the
court found Krutsinger affirmatively declined his right to
call an attorney. The court concluded Krutsinger did not
invoke his right ...