By Shannon Davidson
(LOUISVILLE, August 25th, 2004, 8 p.m.) -- A UK sophomore from Louisville was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer early Tuesday morning a few minutes after a friend signed him out of the Fayette County Detention Center where he was being held for public intoxication. Now Muth's friend could be held responsible for his death. WAVE 3's Shannon Davidson reports.
When someone signs a third-party release to get a friend or loved one out of jail, that third party is then considered responsible for the person once they leave jail. Now Lexington police are investigating whether the person who signed 19-year-old Brian Muth out of the Fayette County Detention Center should be held liable in his death.
According to police, Muth was killed when he stepped in front of a tractor-trailer on New Circle Road right after leaving the
Now the events leading up to Muth's death are under investigation.
Sgt. Paul Simms with the Lexington Police Department says when "people are arrested for alcohol intoxication, normally before they're released they're given a preliminary breath test on a small, portable hand-held breath testing unit."
According to the arrest report, Muth was arrested for public intoxication at a party on Gibson Avenue. His blood alcohol level was .103.
Police say shortly after Muth's arrested, Aaron McNulty showed up and signed a third party release to have Muth released. But before walking out the door, Sgt. Sims says McNulty stopped to talk with a guard. "While he was talking to the detention center guard, they looked around and couldn't find Mr. Muth."
In the 30 seconds it took for McNulty to finish his conversation, Muth slipped out the front door and was hit by the tractor-trailer a short time later.
Police say McNulty searched for Muth for 45 minutes but couldn't find him. Simms says police contacted McNulty Wednesday. "That's part of the reason that the investigation is ongoing, we're going to look at a couple of different aspects of it to see if there's responsibility for them (inmates) once they're released into their custody."
Police say the truck driver wasn't exceeding the 55 mph speed limit when she hit McNulty and will not face any charges.
McNulty, however, as well as the people who hosted the party where Muth became intoxicated, could potentially face charges down the road.
We spoke with Jefferson County Attorney Irv Maze Wednesday, and he told us there is no state law on the books that says a breathalyzer must be administered to a person arrested for public intoxication before he or she is released from jail. There is only the third party release form that states the person signing out an inmate from the jail is responsible for he or she after they leave.
Online Reporter: Shannon Davidson