News 12 at 6 o'clock
AUGUSTA, Ga---News 12 has learned new information in the Ben Harbin DUI case. Even though Harbin failed a field sobriety test and refused a blood alcohol test at the hospital, he was able to keep his Georgia drivers license.
There's a simple reason why. The arresting officer did not show up in Harbin's very first court appearance before the Office of State Administrative Hearings on August 15, 2007.
Legal sources tell News 12 if the officer had been present to testify, the popular representative from Evans and head of the House Appropriations Committee would have lost his license for a year since he refused to take a blood/alcohol test after the wreck.
City of Atlanta police officer Bryan French remembers it differently. He says he got an "official looking" document informing him that the August 15 hearing was being rescheduled. But the document apparently did not come from the Office of State Administrative Hearings. The hearing went on without officer French who tells News 12 he was upset when he learned of the mix up.
According to the police report, Representative Harbin slammed his Nissan Maxima into a power pole at 1:12 in the morning on May 20, 2007. The report goes on to say that Harbin had bloodshot, glassy eyes, slurred speech and smelled of alcohol. After failing a field sobriety test, the report goes on to say that Harbin refused to give a blood sample at Grady Hospital.
As we first reported on Monday, Harbin's latest hearing set for this week, was delayed again. It was the seventh delay since the lawmaker was arrested for DUI last year.