According to the police, a positive saliva test provided a basis for accusing Petter Northug of driving under the influence of drugs. But the blood test was negative, and the charges have been dropped.
On Wednesday, the Eastern police district stated that Petter Northug did not have alcohol or other drugs in his blood when he was arrested for speeding on 13 August.
Thus, the police have dropped the charge for this incident, but the former ski star is still charged with possession of drugs and speeding.
Police attorney Karoline Ekeberg in the Eastern police district confirms to NTB that it was a positive saliva sample taken on the spot that was the basis for the accusation of driving under the influence of drugs.
– It was due to observations and investigations, including a positive saliva test, that gave reason to suspect drunk driving, says Ekeberg.
She says that it did not come as a surprise to the police that the blood test gave the opposite.
– It happens in some cases that the blood test is negative, even if the saliva test is positive, so it was not surprising.
When Northug met the press in Trondheim barely two weeks ago, he was adamant that he had not used drugs before the trip.
Northug’s lawyer Halvard Helle says that the former ski star is relieved by the clarification that came on Wednesday.
– He is relieved, although this is not surprising. This is in line with what he himself said to the press in Trondheim, he says to NTB.
Next step is questioning Northug.
– The agreement between the police and me has been that interrogations will be carried out after the blood test results are ready. I expect that interrogations will take place in the coming days, says Helle.
Severe addiction problems
The former ski star has admitted that he drove too fast, over 200 kilometers per hour in the 80 zone, when he was stopped by a police patrol on the E6 at Gardermoen. According to the police, the speed was 168 kilometers when he was stopped.
The 34-year-old was on his way home after attending a ski academy in Trysil.
He has also admitted that cocaine was found in his home. Northug himself has stated that it was about ten grams.
At the same time, he acknowledged that he was struggling with a serious substance abuse problem.
Ekeberg does not want to comment on what it means for a possible punishment that the charge of driving under the influence of drugs has now been dropped.
The fact that Northug is once again in the police spotlight means that several sponsors are considering whether to continue their collaboration with the former ski star or not.
So far, only the Uno-X cycling team has announced that they are terminating their equipment agreement with Petter Northug.
The Norwegian Ski Association, which also has a sponsorship agreement with Northug’s brand, tells VG that they are in dialogue with Northug about possible further collaboration. Northug supplies sporting glasses to the support staff and has agreements with some athletes in the Norwegian Ski Association, as well as the Nordic combined national team.
Northug has announced that he will resign from all assignments in the near future. The ski star admits that he needs help to deal with the drug problem he is struggling with.
The Olympic Summit and the cross-country skiing community have been clear that they will provide expertise to support the 34-year-old.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today