Test showed Farrakhan had only trace level of alcohol in system

Associated Press/June 18, 2003

Portage, Ind. -- The son of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan faces a drunken driving charge over an Indiana Toll Road crash last month even though a test showed he only had a trace of alcohol in his system, court records show.

A portable breath test given to Joshua Nasir H. Farrakhan, 44, at the time of his May 10 arrest showed he had a blood-alcohol concentration at 0.001 percent, well below Indiana's legal limit of 0.08 percent to drive.

Farrakhan, of Chicago, has pleaded innocent to charges of driving while intoxicated, possession of drug paraphernalia and leaving the scene of an accident.

Blair Todd, a Porter County deputy prosecutor, said that under state law, to be charged with driving while intoxicated someone has to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs or a combination of the two.

"So if it's not as a result of the level of alcohol in his system, there is another substance we believe was a source of the intoxication or the impairment," Todd said.

He declined to elaborate, saying he could not comment on the suspected substance because it is not yet a matter of public record.

Farrakhan's attorney, Jerry Jarrett of Gary, said Farrakhan denies refusing to take additional tests to determine whether he was intoxicated.

"We question whether or not there was a chemical test refusal and whether in fact there was a justification, if so, for the request for a chemical test in the first place," Jarrett said. "We have concerns whether these are the proper charges under the circumstances."

State police say Farrakhan was driving east on the Toll Road in LaPorte County about 50 miles east of Chicago when his 1997 Hummer struck the rear of a car driven by 73-year-old Charles Peterson of Gary.

Peterson's wife, a passenger in the car, was treated at a hospital for neck and back pain and released.

A hearing on the criminal charges against Farrakhan is scheduled for Aug. 12.

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