State Senate President Pro Tem Terry Burton, R-Newton, was found not guilty of a second DUI on Thursday when a Scott County judge ruled cough syrup and breath spray must have caused a “false positive” on the breath test he took after he wrecked.

“I had a coughing spell after all the powder and dust blew from the air bags deploying,” Burton said on Friday. “I took some cough syrup. … It was Nyquil, that was all I had in my bag, had nothing else in the vehicle to drink. … I used breath spray because my mouth felt like cotton. … The judge determined there was a false positive on the test.”

Burton said he had been drinking alcohol earlier that day in a VIP tent at a concert in the metro area but had stopped drinking that afternoon and was not intoxicated at the time he crashed his car on the interstate in Scott County.

Burton’s arrest last month was his second time within five years to be charged with DUI. His latest arrest was after he drove his sports utility vehicle off I-20 in Scott County and hit a traffic sign around 10 p.m. May 14. A Highway Patrol arrest report obtained by The Clarion-Ledger through a public records request said that after the wreck Burton was taken to the Forest Police Department, where he took a breath test that showed his blood-alcohol content was 0.10, above the 0.08 limit for adults.


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