Portsmouth officer found not guilty of DUI in September crash

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Portsmouth officer found not guilty of DUI in September crash

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A Portsmouth Police officer was found not guilty of driving drunk and causing a crash, even though his blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was nearly two times the legal limit.

Officer Eric Rodgers was arrested after a crash in the early morning hours of Sept. 16 that left Portsmouth resident Mashia Williams severely injured. 

“It was a severe crash,” said Williams. “I don’t understand why he was found not guilty.”

Williams said her life was changed in the blink of an eye.

“He was coming down Victory Boulevard and he didn’t have any lights on,” Williams added. “He was just going full speed and just hit me.”

It turned out the man behind the wheel of the other car was Rodgers, who was off duty at the time.

Rodgers told officers he had two large beers to drink that night. His BAC was .13 — almost double the legal limit.

“The proof was right there,” Williams said. “Why didn’t he be found guilty? It’s not fair. It’s just not fair and I’m really disgusted.”

Rodgers’ attorney Thomas Hunter argued evidence showed his client passed all the field sobriety tests without showing any signs of being drunk. 

Hunter argued the only reason why his BAC was taken was because Portsmouth Police didn’t want any bias towards one of its own. Anyone else would have been cut loose.

“Everybody knows that alcohol affects bodies differently, so a reading in itself, if you just went on a reading, science has also proven that that’s false,” Hunter said. “It’s not completely accurate. It’s an indicator.”

The judge agreed, and found Rodgers not guilty.

Rodgers, who has been on administrative duty since the crash, declined to comment after Wednesday’s hearing. Portsmouth Police told 10 On Your Side it couldn’t comment on his current status, calling it a “personnel matter.”

Williams’ car was totaled in the crash. She’s been out of work for seven months and is still recovering, and said she feels as if justice wasn’t done.

“I feel like until somebody does something about drinking and driving, people like him always get away,” Williams said. “How many more people have to die or get severely injured or lose everything for somebody to pay attention to it?”

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