State officials are reviewing DUI blood alcohol tests after "anomalies" — variances between private laboratory results and state test results — were found recently.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation
is working with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to review discrepancies identified by ChemaTox, a private Boulder laboratory, in two blood samples collected by law enforcement during DUI investigations, according to the CBI.
A CBI and CDPHE review found 56 anomalies out of more than 1,500 DUI blood tests done since July 1, 2015.
"There is no indication that any defendant was inappropriately charged with an offense based on test results showing an erroneously high level of alcohol in a driver's bloodstream," the CBI said in a news release.
ChemaTox became aware of a discrepancy in November, when the lab was notified by a defense attorney of a wide variance between its test result, which it did on behalf of the defense attorney's client, and the CBI's test result in the same case.
"The blood alcohol report done by the CBI was 24 percent lower than what we got," said Sarah Urfer, ChemaTox laboratory director. "In this industry, any discrepancy is not good."
ChemaTox notified the CBI of the variance in December.
KCNC-TV Channel 4 in Denver first reported on the variances Monday.
The CBI and CDPHE review is ongoing.
"While the CBI works extremely hard to avoid any testing errors in our laboratories, the quality assurance procedures served their designed purpose of safeguarding the integrity of the program," CBI Director Mike Rankin said in the release. "I'd like to thank ChemaTox and the CDPHE for their roles in making certain the testing process in these critically important cases is scientifically sound."
The CBI said the "cause of the anomalies has been identified and corrected," although it did not specifically say what went wrong.
Typically, when blood test results are skewed, the variance, or mistake, can be traced to human error, Urfer said.
"The most common error that results in reports going out incorrectly is, it's an analyst that did something wrong."