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Tests clear Troxel of DUI

Thu., Aug. 2, 2007

Tests results from the Idaho State Lab show that Lake City High School football coach Van Troxel’s urine sample came back negative for drugs, four days after his arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence of intoxicants, the Coeur d’Alene Police Department said Wednesday afternoon.

The police chief apologized to Troxel, who coached the Timberwolves to the Idaho 5A state championship last November.

Initially the Police Department anticipated the test results would take up to two weeks for the Boise lab to process, but Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Wendy Carpenter said she called the state crime lab and asked if the test could be rushed.

“Mostly because of the negative attention in the media, I wanted to put closure to this,” Carpenter told The Spokesman-Review.

Contacted for comment, Troxel said, “It’s done. That’s what’s important.”

Carpenter apologized for the “regrettable circumstance” and said in a news release the police officer who arrested Troxel acted in good faith and without malice. The release also said Officer Andy Sterling has been an officer for less than two years, and that with “experience and training he will be better able to detect someone who is under the influence versus someone who is tired.”

“In this world, everybody has made a mistake once or twice,” Troxel said. “You learn from it, you go on and you try to make yourself better.”

Carpenter said in the news release that she would “never have an officer apologize for doing their job in good faith.

“I have personally apologized to Van Troxel as Chief of Police,” she wrote.

In an interview, Carpenter said she was not apologizing for the actions of the officer, only for the inconvenience to Troxel.

The city attorney is dismissing the charge, the Police Department said.

The officer pulled over Troxel just after 2 a.m. Saturday because too many people were in the back seat of his car, the department said.

Troxel, 53, said Monday he was awakened at 2 a.m. by a call from his adult children, who had been out drinking and needed a ride home. He was arrested and taken to Kootenai County Jail after failing field sobriety tests. At the jail, Troxel passed a breath test.

Sterling wrote in his report that he suspected Troxel was under the influence of drugs because the “impairment did not match” the results of the breath test.

Troxel provided a urine sample to be tested for drugs. Coeur d’Alene police Sgt. Christie Wood, a member of the Coeur d’Alene School Board, at first said those results could take two weeks.

“I volunteered to take the urinalysis because I know how it’s going to turn out,” Troxel said Monday.

Coeur d’Alene Schools Superintendent Harry Amend said he anticipated Troxel would be cleared.

“I’m pleased that that was the outcome. And I am pleased that Chief Carpenter and the Coeur d’Alene Police Department acted as quickly as possible to let the media and the public know about the outcome,” Amend said. “I also appreciate the direct apology from the chief of police to Van Troxel.”

Amend said he hopes the incident will be a lesson about the importance of designated drivers.

“I think that everybody would acknowledge that we want our kids to call home and we want our parents to be available to jump in the car, even if it’s in the middle of the night on a short amount of sleep, to go down and assist their kids,” he said.


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