OKLAHOMA CITY — The man who conducted drug tests on railroad and airline employees involved in accidents nationwide pleaded guilty today to three counts of providing false test results to federal officials.
Dr. Delbert Lacefield appeared before U.S. District Judge Lee West to plead guilty to three counts that carry a total maximum punishment of 15 years in prison and $30,000 in fines, U.S. Atty. Bill Price said.
Lacefield was released on a $5,000 recognizance bond. A sentencing date has not been set.
Lacefield, 52, was the supervisor of the forensic toxicology research unit of the Civil Aeromedical Institute, a part of the Federal Aviation Administration, which was responsible for conducting drug tests for the federal government on railroad and airline employees involved in accidents.
Price said the cases involved in the investigation were railroad accidents. They did not include the Conrail-Amtrak accident earlier this year outside Baltimore.
Lacefield pleaded guilty to reporting to the Federal Railroad Administration that he had tested the blood plasma of railroad employees involved in three accidents in 1986 when he had not conducted the tests, Price said.
The tests were to confirm the presence of drugs already detected in urine samples. The false test results indicated a negative result, the prosecutor said.
The three accidents involved in the plea were a July 10 Union Pacific Railroad accident in Nebraska in which one person died, an Aug. 27 Conrail accident in Ohio that resulted in a serious injury and a Nov. 20 Santa Fe Railway accident in New Mexico that resulted in serious property damage, Price said.