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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The North Carolina Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of a man in a drunk driving crash that killed a Brunswick County mother.

Last year a jury found Daniel Brennick guilty of second degree murder, felony death by motor vehicle and DWI in the crash that killed Satu Harris near Southport in May 2010. A judge sentenced Brennick to at least 15 years in prison.

Brennick’s attorney appealed saying the trial judge was wrong when he denied Brennick’s motion “to suppress evidence resulting from a warrantless, compelled blood draw sample” while Brennick was unconscious and being prepped for surgery. An appeals panel disagreed ruling the investigating trooper had probable cause and that exigent circumstances, specifically that he might not have access to Brennick once he went into surgery, justified the blood draw without a warrant. Doctors amputated Brennick’s leg during surgery.

The judges, though, did write in their opinion that the officer could have used technology to video conference with a magistrate to get a search warrant. They said the scenario was “exactly the sort contemplated by the Legislature in which police officers should take advantage of advances in technology to speed and simplify the process of acquiring a search warrant.”

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