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Loveland man jailed for DUI; Blood test shows no alcohol, drugs in his system: ‘it was terrifying’

By Brian Maass

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    FORT COLLINS, Colorado (KCNC) — A Loveland man jailed overnight in April for a suspected DUI, had no drugs or alcohol in his system according to a newly released laboratory report from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

“I know for a fact I’m 100% sober, and this is not going to look good,” said Derrick Groves, 36, of the arrest. “I had nothing in my system.”

Groves told CBS4 he now plans to sue the Fort Collins Police Department and the officer who jailed him, Jason Haferman. Groves was traveling home from a friend’s house on the evening of April 7 when he lost control of his car in Fort Collins and went over an embankment. He said he glanced at his phone then overcorrected his steering, leading to the mishap.

Groves was not hurt.

Witnesses told Fort Collins police officers that Groves did not smell of alcohol and seemed to be acting normally.

Responding Fort Collins officer Jason Haferman asked Groves if he had been drinking.

“Nothing,” responded Groves, who told Haferman he was “100%” sober.

Groves acknowledged he was essentially on probation after receiving a deferred judgment in a 2020 DUI case. Groves agreed to roadside sobriety tests. After a few minutes, Haferman said, “I see a lack of convergence in your eyes.. either some type of medical condition or drugs. I believe its drugs.”

Groves told the officer he had not ingested drugs or alcohol. In police reports, Haferman said, “I observed Groves had blood shot, glassy eyes, and his pupils appeared to be different sizes.”

The officer went on to report that on roadside maneuvers, Groves “did not complete them as a sober person.” Haferman said Groves also provided a confusing account of what happened and “his speech was slow and raspy at times.”

Haferman arrested Groves for careless driving and driving while under the influence of drugs. The officer noted in a report it was likely marijuana or “other hallucinogens.”

“I just felt like he was out there trying to get another DUI or something like that,” Groves told CBS4. “He didn’t believe me and thought he was going to score a DUI.”

Haferman testified he has made hundreds of DUI arrests during his time with Fort Collins Police Services. Groves agreed to provide a blood sample at a local hospital, reiterating again to the officer that he was not under the influence. Groves was then booked into jail and said he was released about 18 hours later.

“It was terrifying. I’m going to jail for something I didn’t do,” recounted Groves.

About two weeks ago, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation provided its testing results saying alcohol was “not detected” and a screen for 14 abuse drugs also showed “not detected.”

The District Attorney for the Eighth Judicial District dismissed the DUI charge after it received the blood toxicology results. The D.A.’s office said the report “showed no impairing substances were present.”

Prosecutors said a second sample submitted by Fort Collins Police “confirmed the negative test.”

Fort Collins Police Chief Jeff Swoboda said the CBI lab result “doesn’t mean there was absolutely nothing in someone’s system.” He said the lab screen does not detect some inhalants, prescription drugs and synthetics.

“There are many substances that are frequent in our community that do not show up in that panel that is run,” said Swoboda. “It’s not uncommon for an officer to make an arrest that eventually gets thrown out.”

In Haferman’s case, that list of cases being thrown out is growing. The Groves case is the fourth recent DUI case from Haferman that has been dismissed. Beyond the Groves case, the D.A.’s office told CBS4, they are “aware that several cases investigated by Officer Jason Haferman have raised concerns regarding the sufficiency of evidence.”

In a 2021 DUI case, two charges, including the DUI, were dismissed after Judge Sarah Cure said Haferman “lacks credibility. His testimony was inconsistent. It changed course on several of the key fact… Some of his testimony is not supported by the evidence. In fact, some of it was contrary to the evidence.” The Judge said Haferman “exaggerated” in the case. Officer Haferman and prosecutors disagreed with the Judge’s assessment. In two other 2021 DUI cases from Haferman, the Eighth Judicial District D.A. dismissed the DUI charges in both cases when lab results showed no alcohol or drugs. “Neither drugs nor alcohol were detected in the samples,” said the D.A.’s office. Matt Haltzman, an attorney representing Derrick Groves, said, “I think Officer Haferman wasn’t just exaggerating, he was fabricating.”

Haltzman continued, “The officer indicates signs of impairment that do not exist. I believe we are seeing a significant pattern. This is an unlawful arrest without probable cause.” Haltzman theorized that the officer was trying to “pad his numbers as much as possible.”

Swoboda told CBS4 all these Haferman cases will be looked in to.

“We’re always going to take it as a big deal if we’re making arrests that don’t hold up in court. That’s something we’re always going to be looking at.”

Asked if his agency owed Groves an apology, Swoboda said, “I think that’s a bit premature. We’re definitely not there yet.”

As he is looking at a potential lawsuit, Groves said he is hoping legal action might bring about change.

“I think this stuff needs to stop,” said Groves. “It’s not fair to innocent people like me or other people out there.”

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