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UPDATED: DUI and drug charge against Kingsport physician dropped

Zach Vance • Updated Jul 21, 2016 at 12:55 PM

Judge Don Arnold has dismissed a two charges against a Kingsport physician. 

On June 21, W. Jan Kazmier, 70, 710 Harbor Point Drive, appeared in General Sessions Court where a driving under the influence and possession of a legend drug charge was dropped related to a driving incident that occurred on Feb. 8. 

According to a letter from attorney R. Wayne Culbertson, all of Kazmier’s toxicology and drug screens came back negative. 

Kazmier was arrested on Feb. 8 after Lt. Eddie Graybeal with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office reportedly saw him run a stop sign while turning onto the Kingsport Highway in his 2016 Porsche. 

According to the affidavit of complaint, Kazmier sped up to 54 mph in a 35 mph zone before he was stopped. 

The complaint said the deputy found five 50 mg tramadol pills in Kazmier’s possession and placed him under arrest. 

Kazmier did enter a plea for running the stop sign and speeding. 

“Dr. Kazmier should have never been charged with the offenses; however, because of the time that it occurred being a Monday in the early morning hours the night after the Super Bowl, the fact his accent is different than the normal east Tennessean, and fact he had a prescription pills on his person, which many people do, the officer felt compelled to charge Dr. Kazmier,” the letter said. 

“Dr. Kazmier feels very badly about what occurred, he feels he was treated unfairly,” Culbertson 

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Police said the founding physician of Kingsport’s Regional Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Center was arrested last week for being in possession of several painkillers and driving under the influence.

was arrested by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office for possession of a legend drug without a prescription and DUI. He was also charged with running a stop sign and speeding. 

Around midnight on Feb. 8, Lt. Eddie Graybeal said a blue 2016 Porsche ran a stop sign while turning left onto the Kingsport Highway and quickly accelerated to 54 mph in a 35 mph construction zone.

Graybeal pulled the vehicle over and said he immediately noticed Kazmier’s eyes were watery with a slight odor of alcohol coming from his breath. 

Kazmier reportedly gave Graybeal permission to search his coat jacket where an unmarked pill bottle containing five 50 mg tramadol pills was located in his pocket. Kazmier then admitted taking half of an Ambien pill approximately two hours prior to driving, the arrest report stated. Ambien is a sedative used to treat insomnia. 

Kazmier failed several sobriety tests and was taken into custody, where he submitted blood samples at Johnson City Medical Center, Graybeal said. 

Kazmier currently holds staff privileges at Wellmont’s Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport. 

“Dr. Kazmier is an independent physician on the hospital's medical staff. This status is evaluated by the medical staff leadership on a regular basis. That group takes its role very seriously and considers all factors when determining whether a particular physician should retain those privileges,” Wellmont spokesman Jim Wozniak wrote in response to questions about Kazmier’s arrest. 

The Tennessee Department of Health Licensure Verification database lists Kazmier as having no disciplinary action taken against him for this arrest or any prior misconduct.

Shelley Walker, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health, said pending investigations against health professionals cannot be confirmed or denied.

“There is no state law or rule prompting automatic action against a health professional’s license if he or she is charged with a crime,” Walker wrote in an email. “Everyone is entitled to due process.”

Licensed health professionals in Tennessee are required by law to report any criminal convictions to their licensure boards. Disciplinary actions taken against licensed medical doctors range from financial fines to loss of license completely. 

In October, a state audit found that many Tennessee doctors who committed misconduct still held their license for years at a time before the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners took disciplinary action. 

“After consulting with program staff, we were able to determine that of 21 investigations, 10 were not completed within their required timeframe,” the audit read. 

One case reviewed during the audit, which did not reveal patient harm, took 33 months before disciplinary action was taken.

Board disciplinary action ranged from 2 to 426 days past the required deadline of the cases audited by the state comptroller. 

Michelle Long, assistant commission for health and licensure regulation, responded to the audit by stating the Tennessee Department of Health would examine all the cases highlighted and were committed to working more effectively to track and monitor complaints against medical doctors while those complaints are under investigation. 

Kazmier will be due in court on March 28.

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