SAGINAW (WJRT) (11/03/2017) - A discrepancy over the drug test administered after a fatal Saginaw County crash in April likely led to the at-fault driver's acquittal on Thursday.
This photo from the Saginaw County Sheriff's Office shows the remains of Bridgman's car after Corey Slavik crashed into him on April 2.
A Saginaw County jury found Corey Slavik not guilty of driving under the influence of drugs in the April 2 crash that killed 26-year-old Jacob Bridgman. Slavik was accused of having cocaine in his system when he broadsided Bridgman at the intersection of Dixie Highway and Maple Road.
"He had the best personality in the world, best kid, would do anything for you," Bridgman's aunt Kelly Cooper said about him.
Cooper, along with other family and friends of Jacob's, were shocked when the jury found Slavik not guilty.
"I was devastated," she said. "No way in heck did I think that would happen."
Slavik's attorney, Michael Manley, said the verdict was bittersweet for him. He said the evidence that showed Slavik had drugs in his system was mishandled, which created enough doubt in the jury's minds.
"It was our contention that none of the proper standards were followed in the collection of urine or the chain of custody by the time it got tested at the hospital," Manley said.
Cooper agreed that the evidence chain of custody concerns put enough doubt in the mind of the jurors that the urine test results may not have been Slavik's. But she disagrees with the vedict.
"He got off on a technicality," Cooper said.
She said the Bridgman family is now looking at other legal options to hold Slavik accountable.
"I really don't have faith in the court system right now," Cooper said.
Manley said there were no winners in the case.
"Our hearts break for the Bridgman and Slavik family, because again we have two families still hurting no matter what the verdict was," he said.
The Saginaw County Prosecutor's Office did not return calls seeking comment on Friday.