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Petaluma police officer seeks to block release of medical records

A Petaluma police officer charged with drunken driving for allegedly crashing a motorized scooter during a department golf tournament filed a motion Monday to block the release of medical records that might contain incriminating evidence.

Officer Ryan McGreevy cited federal privacy laws in a motion to quash subpoenas from prosecutors for records from Petaluma Valley and Santa Rosa Memorial hospitals, where he was treated after the Oct. 5 crash.

His attorney, Michael Li, argued the hospitals cannot disclose official reports without his consent and accused prosecutors of conducting a "fishing expedition" for relevant information.

"The subpoenas issued by the people are far too overbroad and therefore far too intrusive into the defendant's privacy concerns," Li wrote.

The medical records are key because McGreevy -- recognized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving in 2007 for DUI enforcement -- was not tested for alcohol at the time of the crash. Petaluma police waited a month before referring the case to the CHP for investigation.

Prosecutor Brian Staebell has asked for the records to see if they contain observations about McGreevy's condition from hospital staff. Also, he said doctors may have taken blood samples in the course of treatment.

Staebell said there are exemptions to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly known as HIPAA, for legitimate law enforcement purposes. Any evidence collected from his records could support witness accounts that McGreevy was drinking at the time of the crash, Staebell said.

"It's part of our investigation to determine whether he was under the influence at the time," Staebell said.

Judge Patrick Broderick is expected to rule on the case April 4.

Meanwhile, McGreevy, 35, remains on active duty, Li said.

He was a volunteer at the annual golf tournament to raise money for the department's hostage negotiation team. Alcohol was served at the event, which was attended by many other officers and department brass, according to a police report.

At some point, McGreevy jumped on a fellow officer's scooter and took off down a fairway, the report said. He crashed and was taken to the hospital with undisclosed injuries, it said. No field sobriety or chemical testing was done, McGreevy's lawyer said.

Petaluma police reviewed the case for four weeks before handing it over to the CHP for a full investigation, a department spokesman said.

The CHP wrote a 71-page report and recommended McGreevy be charged with drunken driving. Prosecutors filed the criminal complaint in January.

You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312or paul.payne@pressdemocrat.com

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