SPS Director of Transportation Fighting to Keep Driving License

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- A Springfield school official who allegedly refused to submit to an alcohol test after being pulled over is now fighting to keep his driving license.

In a petition filed Wednesday in Greene County Circuit Court, attorney Joe Passanise requested the Missouri Department of Revenue void the revocation and reinstate driving privileges for Richard “Rick” Emling.

Emling, Director of Transportation for Springfield Public Schools, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, failing to signal and failing to drive within a single lane. No charges have yet been filed.

State law requires anyone arrested on suspicion of a DWI to submit to a blood, breath or urine test to determine the level of alcohol concentration in their system. Refusal to take the test triggers an automatic one-year license revocation.

In the petition, Emling’s attorney requests a hearing to determine if there was probable cause to arrest Emling on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, if he refused to submit to the alcohol test and if revoking his driving licenses is reasonable.

Emling, 52, of Ozark, was pulled over by the Missouri State Highway Patrol and arrested shortly after midnight Saturday.

Patrol spokesman Sgt. Jason Pace said a trooper pulled Emling over after observing him make a U-turn without signaling on East Sunshine Street, near South Glenstone Avenue. He said Emling was arrested after the trooper observed his behavior, speech and the results of a field sobriety test.

After Emling was booked into the Greene County Jail, the patrol filed a search warrant to obtain a blood sample from Emling. It was filled at 1:40 p.m. Saturday.

The search warrant, which was signed by a judge, permitted a medical professional to draw two samples of Emling’s blood in an effort to determine alcohol or drug content. The results of the tests are not yet known.

The district placed Emling on paid leave while the incident is reviewed. Emling’s salary is $111,297.

Passanise also argued, in the petition, that Emling uses a motor vehicle in the course of his job and revoking his driving privileges would create a hardship. A message left for Passanise was not immediately returned.

Early in the week, attorneys Passanise and Scott Pierson issued a news release noting Emling had no criminal record and has been a “model employee.”

“This has been a very humiliating and humbling experience for him and his family and he sincerely apologizes,” the release said. “There is an ongoing investigation and he is presumed innocent.”

Shared by the Springfield News-Leader

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