Defense Team Tries to Discredit Toxologist's Testimony on Defendant's Alcohol Intake

Staten Island Advance

State Island Advance
Livingston cop is on trial for drunken driving and fatally injuring a motorcyclist

Saturday, March 20, 2004

The defense lawyer for a Livingston police officer, on trial for drunken driving and fatally injuring a motorcyclist, tried yesterday to discredit a toxicologist who testified for the prosecution regarding the defendant's alcohol intake.

Dr. Jesse Bidanset, a forensic toxicologist with more than 30 years of experience, testified Wednesday that Police Officer Victor Wilson of Davis Court, who was off-duty at the time, must have drunk eight to 10 beers on the night of June 19, 2002, judging from a breathalyzer test taken six and a half hours after the crash.

Wilson, who had been assigned to the North Shore's 120th Precinct, is accused of driving drunk and fatally injuring Stefanos Kiladitis, 21, of Brooklyn, nearly two years ago.

If he is convicted of vehicular manslaughter, Wilson, a 12-year NYPD veteran, could be sentenced to seven years in prison.

Defense lawyer Todd Greenberg yesterday called Dr. Bedanset"s methodology flawed, the computer program he used suspect, and his calculations misleading.

The witness defended his testimony and said his conclusions were 'precise and accurate.'

Yesterday's cross-examination centered on technical details such as absorption rates, specific toxicological tests, and a calculation called 'retrograde extrapolation.'

It's unclear whether the jury fully understood the terms of art, but if it's any indication, two jurors slept through most of the day's proceedings.

Wilson registered a .116 percent blood alcohol level in a Breathalyzer test nearly two hours after the accident. The legal limit at the time was .10 percent, but it has since been lowered to .08 percent.

According to Dr. Bidanset, a blood sample from Wilson taken at 5:12 a.m. the morning after the accident registered a .019 and a .020 percent blood alcohol level.

Sam Dolnick is a news reporter for the Advance. He may be reached at [email protected]