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Sirens & Gavels

Trooper passed wrong-way I-90 driver

A wrong-way driver accused of injuring two people in a freeway crash early Sunday passed a state trooper just before the 3:34 a.m. crash

Eric Edward McElmurry, 28, was allowed to leave jail on his own recognizance Monday after appearing before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Michael Price on vehicular assault charges.

Trooper Falkner was westbound on Interstate 90 east of Liberty Lake when McElmurry passed him going eastbound in the neighboring westbound lane, according to a probable cause affidavit. Falkner tried to stop him, but McElmurry's 1999 Mercury Mystic crashed head-on into a 2006 Mercury Mariner driven by Tabatha B. Dudley, 22, of Spokane Valley, police said.

Dudley was injured, along with passengers Danielle L. Cowan, 23, of Coeur d'Alene, and Zachary O'Reilly, 25, of Spokane, who both suffered broken bones; McElmurry was treated at a hospital before being booked into jail.

Troopers say McElmurry smelled of alcohol and began to vomit when he woke up in the emergency room. McElmurry said he'd drank alcohol at a party near Altamont and at a home in Cheney. He said he drank six or seven beers beginning around 9:30 p.m. and “admitted that his ability to drive was affected by his alcohol usage.”

McElmurry told troopers he believed he got onto the freeway at Freya Street and said he had no idea he was driving the wrong way.

“The defendant was upset that other people had been injured and started crying,” accoridng to the affidavit


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