September 14, 2009 - Hair Spray Causes False Reading on Alcohol Monitoring Device

A judge in Walton County, Fla., says an alcohol-monitoring device worn by an area teen was accidentally activated by the teen's regular exposure to hairspray.

Walton County Circuit Judge Kelvin Wells ruled Thursday that the recent activation of Elyse Tirico's monitoring device was likely not the result of alcohol use by the 17-year-old.

"Based on the evidentiary hearing today, the court would find that it appears that the detection made by (the alcohol-monitoring device) was a false positive and so, based upon that, I'm not going to revoke her pre-trial release," Wells said.

Tirico, formerly Elyse Bushee, was released with the monitoring device in advance of her 2010 trial on driving under the influence charges stemming from a deadly Jan. 4 accident.

Jeff Hawthorne, co-founder of Alcohol Monitoring Systems Inc., testified at Thursday's hearing that hair spray use could have led the monitoring device to register a .02 blood alcohol level in Tirico on July 15.

Tirico, who is facing DUI manslaughter and DUI with serious bodily injury charges, has been wearing the device since March.

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