In a Campus Drive accident late Monday night, a Trinity freshman flipped his 1997 Chevrolet Blazer and collided with a pole and a tree, causing minor injuries to himself and one of four passengers in the car.
Matthew Brody was charged with reckless driving, unlawful possession of a malt beverage and operating a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol and being less than 21 years old. A Duke police officer also obtained a revocation order for Brody's driver's license.
Officers detected an odor of alcohol on the scene, and observed that several beer cans had fallen out of the vehicle and three more were found in the rear compartment. But Maj. Robert Dean of the Duke University Police Department said a charge of driving while intoxicated could not be given because Brody did not submit to a breathalyzer or a blood alcohol content test.
"So as far as DWI, that wasn't really able to be substantiated," Dean said. Refusing such tests is a constitutional right.
Brody told police he was traveling south on Campus Drive when he veered to the left, attempting to avoid a speed bump near the East Campus bridge.
"At this point, he apparently lost control of his vehicle, then crossed back over into the proper lane, overcompensating, causing the vehicle to flip onto its roof," Dean said. The vehicle then flipped again, slid across the road, collided with the utility pole and finally came to rest in the woods.
"It's a miracle no one was killed," Dean said. Brody, who was transported to Duke Hospital on a stretcher after being treated by paramedics, escaped with only slight lacerations. One of his four passengers complained of severe pain in his right elbow.
The damage to Brody's vehicle is estimated at $18,000. The front of the car was crushed and the windshield was shattered. It will cost about $1,000 to replace the flashing yellow light and bicycle caution sign on the utility pole Brody struck.