Man Accused in Drunk Driving Fatality Had Previous DUI Case Slip Through Cracks

By Jeff Neumeyer

June 18, 2010 Updated Nov 30, 2009 at 6:52 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- More information is now available, indicating why a 2002 drunk driving case was dismissed against an Allen County man who now also stands accused of killing an Ohio woman while driving under the influence.

52-year old Brian Mansfield of Monroeville is being held on 25-thousand dollars bond on charges he struck and killed Jacqueline Yenser of Antwerp last week, with a blood alcohol level nearly five times the legal limit.

Mansfield had a drunk driving conviction in the 1980's, and had his license suspended for life in 1990 after another traffic crash, long before he allegedly blew a stop sign and caused a fatality last week near the Indiana-Ohio line with a blood-alcohol level of .37.

Allen County Judge Fran Gull re-instated Mansfield's license in 2000, then in August 2002, he was arrested for operating while intoxicated, with a blood alcohol level of .43.

Indiana’s NewsCenter has learned, though charges were filed that same year, Mansfield was let out of jail and warrants officers never picked him up again until 2006.

His lawyer successfully got the case thrown out on the basis it was an untimely prosecution.

Don Swanson didn’t handle the case, but he agreed to comment after reviewing the case file.

Don Swanson/Fort Wayne Attorney: " They did initiate the prosecution again in 2006, but by that time it was too late. Prosecution has to be commenced within two years of the arrest or the filing of the information."

Mansfield had a valid driver's license when last week’s fatal crash occurred.

Had the 2002 case gone forward and he was found guilty, it's conceivable his license would not have been in force.

Prosecutor Karen Richards acknowledged that it should not have taken almost four years before Mansfield was served with an arrest warrant to face prosecution in that case.

But she also said it’s important to note that county warrants officers work hundreds of cases, and with this one involving simply misdemeanor charges, it would not have been as high of a priority as other felony cases.

She believes Mansfield would have served his time and gotten his license back regardless.

Mansfield is expected to make his first appearance in felony court in the death of Jacqueline Yenser on Wednesday December 2nd.

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