News and Tribune

December 19, 2012

Floyd County deputy coroner charged by prosecutors

Howard Rainey faces charges in third drunken driving incident in recent years

By GARY POPP
gary.popp@newsandtribune.com

NEW ALBANY — The Office of the Floyd County Prosecutor issued drunken driving charges against Floyd County Deputy Coroner Howard J. Rainey on Tuesday.

Rainey, 53, of 1217 E. Spring St. in New Albany, was arrested following a traffic stop made by an Indiana State Police Trooper about 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

During his arrest, Rainey was preliminarily charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, a class C misdemeanor, operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a Blood Alcohol Content of .15 or more, a class A misdemeanor, operating a vehicle while intoxicated — prior, a class D felony, and public intoxication, a class B misdemeanor. After prosecutors received the case, the charges were modified to operating a vehicle while intoxicated — prior,  a class D felony, and operating a vehicle with an ACE (alcohol concentration equivalent) of .15 or more, a class A misdemeanor.

Rainey’s previous drunken driving conviction referenced by prosecutors in the D felony charge occurred in Jefferson County in July 2008. According to court documents, Rainey was also convicted of operating a vehicle with an ACE of .08 or more in Floyd County in August 2009.

According to the probable-cause affidavit drafted by the arresting ISP trooper Sunday, Rainey was pulled over after the trooper saw the Chevrolet Suburban Rainey was driving cross the roadway’s center line with both driver’s-side tires near the intersection of Main and Ninth streets. After the stop was made, the trooper noted Rainey showed signs of impairment soon after their initial exchange.

“Rainey showed poor manual dexterity while retrieving his driver’s license and actually attempted to hand me his debit card,” the trooper put into the affidavit.

The trooper reported that Rainey said he was coming from Hugh E. Bir’s Cafe, a bar located on Market Street in New Albany. He told the trooper he drank four to five beers at the establishment. The trooper reported that he could smell the odor of alcohol on Rainey’s breath and that he had thick, slow and slurred speech and glassy eyes. According to the affidavit, Rainey failed three field sobriety tests before being taken into custody.

Rainey would later provide a sample BAC of .20 during a test administered at Floyd County Jail.

“Rainey stated that he had a prior arrest for OWI in Floyd County several years ago, but stated that it  was expunged because he had powerful friends,” according to the trooper’s remarks in the affidavit.

Floyd County court records do reflect that Rainey’s arrest record stemming from the 2009 charges were expunged in Floyd County Superior Court No. 2. in 2011. Rainey is slated to appear in Floyd County Superior Court No. 2 for an initial hearing at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 26.