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Judge allows blood test

A test that showed Melanie Rose Bowie had a blood alcohol level of 0.14 percent when the pickup truck she was driving struck and killed a pedestrian two years ago will be admissible at trial, a judge has ruled.

Pasco County Judge Marc Salton last week rejected a defense motion that sought to have the blood test thrown out. Bowie's attorney had argued that investigators did not have probable cause to suspect that the 25-year-old Holiday waitress was impaired by alcohol.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers reported smelling alcohol on Bowie's breath at the scene and noted that her eyes were bloodshot, but they did not notice classic signs of intoxication, such as slurred speech or a wobbly gait.

Florida presumes that a driver is intoxicated at a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher.

Bowie faces a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence in connection with the Sept. 14, 1998 death of Louis Rapisarda. Prosecutors considered filing DUI manslaughter charges against Bowie, but they decided against it after concluding that even a sober driver would have had trouble avoiding Rapisarda as he walked along an unlit stretch of Alternate U.S. Highway 19 in Holiday.

Rapisarda also was walking with traffic, rather than against it, which is against the law.

Bowie's trial is scheduled for Sept. 19.