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Was the arrest warranted? Man charged in Verizon crash appears in court

Fond du Lac County Court
Posted at 9:14 PM, Oct 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-04 22:04:10-04

FOND DU LAC (NBC 26) — Benjamin Ayer, the 20-year-old man who is charged with nine felonies in connection to a crash into a Verizon Wireless store in Fond du Lac, appeared in court Tuesday for a motion hearing.

Police responded to the scene in April and arrested Ayer, took a blood sample, and searched his car.

But his attorney said they didn’t have probable cause to do any of those things.

Three police officers testified in the hearing about what they saw what Ayer told them that day.

“He stated that he had a problem with drugs and he admitted to doing air duster,” Officer Joseph Zauner said.,

Officer Tyler Fink testified that Ayer told him he had been huffing aerosol spray in a nearby Culvers prior to the crash.

“[Ayer said] he had huffed the gas and did not remember anything until he was at the crash,” Fink said.

A third officer, Officer Da Neng Vang, said Ayer had “pinpoint pupils” when he responded to the crash.

The defense showed a video of Ayer saying “I’m so sorry” and asking if the police are checking on the people inside.

The defense said ayer was distressed after the crash and questioned what the police saw.

“At this point, there’s no observed signs of intoxication or impairment from what you were able to see of him as he walked across the parking lot,” Ayer’s attorney Scott Ceman said.

“I did not observe any,” Officer Zauner said.

The attorney asked Vang, the officer who arrested Ayer, whether he performed a field sobriety test before arresting him, and the officer said an injury prevented the sobriety test.

Vang said Ayer injured his ankle and was disoriented.

The prosecution argued that there were several reasons the arrest, blood test and vehicle search were warranted. They cited testimony that Ayer told police he had been huffing prior to the crash; he had drug paraphernalia in the vehicle, and police say the physical indications of impairment.

Ultimately, the judge decided he needed more information about police department policy on inventory searches, so both parties will return to court for more testimony.