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ALCOHOL DETECTED IN ORGANS OF DRIVER JANUARY TRAIN CRASH UNDER INVESTIGATION.

Byline: Susan Abram Staff Writer

BURBANK - Traces of alcohol were found in the organs of a Van Nuys man whose truck who collided with a Metrolink commuter train, but officials could not say Tuesday whether his driving might have been impaired.

Newly released toxicology results show that Jacek Wysocki, 63, had a .09 percent alcohol level in his liver and .02 in his stomach at the time of the Jan. 6 crash, which killed him and injured more than 30 people aboard the train. A 76-year-old Santa Clarita passenger died two weeks later of crash-related injuries, while a 48-year-old Newhall attorney suffered permanent paralysis.

``What it means is at the time of the accident, he had some alcohol in his system,'' said Joe Muta, a toxicologist with the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office. ``The question is: Does the .09 accurately reflect bloodstream levels? In this particular case, you can make a case it doesn't necessarily. But you can make a case that since there was .09 levels in his liver and .02 in his stomach, that says there was alcohol.''

By law, a blood alcohol level of .08 defines a driver as legally drunk.

Muta said he could not conclude whether Wysocki's driving judgment was impaired based on the level of alcohol.

Wysocki's family has said he was a conscientious driver - and a one-time driving instructor. They believe he became confused by the configuration of the intersection at San Fernando Boulevard and Buena Vista Street, and drove his Ford F-350 truck onto the tracks.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Burbank police have been leading the investigation into the cause of the crash.

Burbank police Detective Paul Orlowski refused to comment on the test results, pending the competition of his investigation.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 7, 2003
Words:292
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