Expert: Man shot by police on Bourbon St. had near-lethal blood alcohol levels

Published: Jun. 4, 2019 at 10:10 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - A 42-year-old man shot by a Louisiana State Police trooper on Bourbon Street last week had five times the legal limit of alcohol in his system when he drove his car the wrong way down the street and refused to stop, according to police officials.

At 0.416 percent, Dr. David Welsh said Eric Kullander’s blood alcohol content was near-lethal, and lower levels have been known to cause death. Welsh is an associate professor of medicine at LSU who studies the affects alcohol has on the body.

“At that level and above, you are at risk of dying,” Welsh said.

Welsh said it’s no easy task to reach that level of intoxication.

“You don’t get to that high of an alcohol level without consuming a high number of alcohol in a short period of time," he said.

Dramatic surveillance video shows state troopers trying to stop Kullander as he drove the wrong way down Bourbon Street around 7 p.m. Thursday (May 30). When Kullander failed to stop and continued towards pedestrians, one of the troopers shot at him, striking him in the torso. Kullander’s vehicle then came to a stop, striking a bollard.

Kullander’s attorney, Jeffery Smith, said this client’s blood alcohol level proves he had no intent of driving over pedestrians or meant to commit an act of terrorism.

“Quite honestly, it kind of explains the behavior, but not the behavior of anyone that wanted to hurt anybody or kill anybody. Maybe that answers some people’s questions. We’re just going to have to deal with it one step at a time," Smith said.

As of Tuesday night, Smith said Kullander remained in the intensive care unit at the hospital, recovering from the incident. He was briefly released from the hospital over the weekend and was booked into Orleans Justice Center jail on charges of aggravated battery and resisting an officer with force, court records show. Police said he was also facing traffic charges.

Based on the results of his toxicology report, police said Kullander now faces a new charged and will be booked with operating a vehicle while intoxicated when he is released from the hospital.

“I mean, I don’t drink so I don’t know how these things work. But I imagine there are people that affects them differently," Smith said. "You could take an 18-year-old girl with a .04 she would be delirious. You could take a man maybe it wouldn’t be. I honestly, know that people are dead with under that amount with alcohol poison.”

Smith said at this time, his focus is on his client and that he spoke with the judge presiding over the case, who wants to discuss his original bond -- which was set at $10,000 Sunday.

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