Police in Texas sought a search warrant to compel a semi-retired television weatherman to provide a blood sample after he was arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol in July, The Desk has learned.
The warrant was obtained by Austin police officers after KXAN (Channel 36) forecaster Jimmy Spencer refused to submit to a formal breathalyzer test following his DUI-related arrest on the evening of July 16.
Police say Spencer crashed his Lexus sedan into a wall along a local expressway, and was discovered with several alcoholic beverages inside his vehicle.
Officers conducted an informal breathalyzer using a portable machine at the scene of the crash, which revealed Spencer’s blood alcohol level to be .218, or three times the legal limit.
In DUI cases, it is not uncommon for officers to confirm a portable breath test, or PBT, and it is not mandatory for drivers to comply with a request to take one. However, Texas law does require drivers to submit to a formal breathalyzer test using a machine that typically provides more-accurate blood test readings, and officers can apply for a search warrant forcing suspects to provide a blood sample if they do not comply.
While Spencer complied with the portable breath test, he later refused to submit to a more-formal breathalyzer test at the police station. Officers later applied for a search warrant to force Spencer to provide a blood sample for testing, which a local judge approved.
Spencer was ultimately charged with a misdemeanor count of driving while under the influence of alcohol. He was released on bond several days after his arrest, and is expected to appear in court on October 9.
Spencer has not commented publicly about the matter, nor has KXAN or the station’s owner, Nexstar Media Group. He semi-retired from the NBC affiliate two years ago, but continues making occasional on-air appearances.
At the time of his arrest, Spencer was participating in a campaign that saw KXAN solicit donations of portable fans from the community.