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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: alcohol

Stoned-while driving case hangs, again

A second jury in nine months failed to agree Tuesday whether a Deer Park man’s marijuana use caused a fatal crash, highlighting the lack of accepted standards to determine when motorists should be considered too stoned to drive.

A Spokane County jury deliberated only about seven hours before announcing the impasse Tuesday in the vehicular homicide trial of Jonathon P. Bales, 22, who caused the fatal crash on July 26, 2010, that severed the leg and killed 54-year-old Rene Blaume.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

June 6: Driving while stoned is focus of trial

Sept. 21: Jury deadlocked in fatal scooter crash
  

Feds: Pilot lands in Spokane while drunk

A commercial pilot was drunk when he landed a plane at the Spokane International Airport in April, federal prosecutors allege.

Paul Robbin Roessler, of Federal Way, is to appear in U.S. District Court in Spokane June 29 for a charge operating a common carrier under the influence of alcohol, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

The charge alleges Roessler flew a twin engine PA-34 aircraft for Airpac Airlines, Inc., from Boeing Field in Seattle to the Spokane airport while drunk on April 26.

A federal grand jury indicted him last week. Airport spokesman Todd Woodward directed questions to the U.S. Attorney's Office, which has not immediately returned a phone call.

Federal aviation records say Roessler was a certified commercial pilot and flight instructor but that his certificates are no longer active.

A man who answered the phone for Airpac Airlines identified himself as Roger and declined comment. The company is described on its website as a a contract cargo operator based out of Boeing Field since 1976.
  

2nd trial begins in fatal scooter crash

Testimony began Tuesday in the second vehicular homicide trial against a Spokane man who killed a woman riding a scooter north of Spokane in 2010.

 Jonathan P. Bales, 22, is facing a second trial after a jury deadlocked and could not come to a unanimous decision following his first trial last September.

Bales was driving his 1985 Pontiac Firebird southbound on Wandermere Road on July 16, 2010, when he crossed the center line and struck 54-year-old Rene Blaume, who was riding her Racer iScooter.

Blaume (pictured) suffered a severed leg and died both from blood loss from the amputation and from trauma from the crash, according to testimony.

A blood test on Bales was negative for alcohol but showed traces of marijuana.

Burglar requests just a bottle of wine

Police say a bottle of wine was the only thing missing from a burglarized home Friday night - and the burglar asked permission to take it.

Suspect Gary A. Patterson, 34, told police he entered the home at 828 E. Joseph Ave., because the front door was open, but he told Spokane police didn't take anything because he believed the resident was in the military, according to court documents.

A 26-year-old resident arrived home about 10:50 p.m. to find Patterson in his home with a knife in hand that was closed and not used in a threatening manner, police said.

The resident told police that Patterson asked if he could leave with a small bottle of wine he was holding, and he stated that he could.

Officers contacted Patterson near the home, and the victim identified him as the man who was in his home.

Police recovered the knife and bottle of wine. Patterson was booked into jail on a first-degree burglary charge. He remains there on $5,000 bond after appearing in Superior Court Monday.

Suspect threatens to eat police, dogs

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Police say a man in Indiana accused of stealing a car threatened to hunt down and eat his arresting officers, their families and police dogs.

The Journal & Courier reports that 39-year-old Paul M. Brock of Frankfort was charged Wednesday with auto theft, resisting law enforcement, intimidation and operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

Police in Lafayette, 60 miles northwest of Indianapolis, used dogs to subdue Brock during his arrest on Friday.

Police say Brock later told officers that he would hunt them down and eat them, their families and their dogs. He had a blood-alcohol content more than three times Indiana's legal limit.

He was jailed on a $25,000 bond at the Tippecanoe County Jail.

Tips sought on Chevron beer robbers

Spokane police are asking for helping identifying two men who assaulted a store clerk and stole a 20-pack of beer early Monday.

The men assaulted the clerk at Chevron Food Mart, 1703 E. Francis Ave., after he confronted them for stealing the beer about 12:25 a.m., police said today.

The robbers ran west on Francis. The men are described as possibly Hispanic, in their late teens with slight builds. One wore a red jacket, black baseball hat and jeans; the other wore a gray hooded-sweatshirt, dark jacket and jeans.

Police released surveillance images and video of the heist today.

Anyone with information on the men's identities is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

New details in Riverfront murder case

A Spokane man accused of killing his friend in Riverfront Park after a night of drinking told police he was so intoxicated that he didn’t realize who he was assaulting until he saw his shoes, according to court documents filed Wednesday.

Yukio M. Rideb, 21, (pictured) told officers Romero J. Vivit, III, needed to be hospitalized but was still breathing when he left him in the park early Saturday after the drunken assault. Rideb will remain in the Spokane County Jail on $500,000 bond after appearing in court today on a second-degree murder charge. Divers pulled Vivit’s body from the Spokane River on Tuesday.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

Dec. 20: Murder arrest made in missing man's death

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

Woman wanted for vehicular assault

A woman is wanted for vehicular assault after Spokane police said she crashed her car, injuring her passenger, then asked an officer, “Can I leave my car like that?”

Michelle R. Purkey, 47, smelled of alcohol when police responded to a crash at North Crestline Street and East Illinois Avenue about 1:30 a.m. on Feb. 5.

Purkey's Ford Escort crashed into a power pole, and her passenger, Louis Austin, suffered a broken nose, broken teeth, broken arm, two broken ankles and a fractured pelvis, according to court documents.

Police said Purkey admitted to drinking but was argumentative and said she was leaving before her arrest.

Purkey was to report to jail for booking after her arrangement, but she never did, leading to an arrest warrant that calls for her to be held without bail. Purkey last gave an address in the 700 block of West Maxwell Avenue in Spokane.

Anyone with information on her current location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Federal public defender’s job opens

The future of the top federal public defender in Eastern Washington and North Idaho could be in doubt, with the board that oversees the attorney’s office advertising for his replacement even as the attorney, Roger Peven, prepares to represent domestic terrorism suspect Kevin W. Harpham. 

The federal public defender’s office is facing a civil lawsuit by three former employees, who essentially claim that they were fired in retaliation after they raised concerns about a lack of leadership on the part of Peven.

The lawsuit also claims the three employees forced an intervention that resulted in Peven seeking inpatient treatment for alcohol abuse.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Chronic drunken driver arrested for DUI

A chronic drunken driver convicted of vehicular homicide in 1990 was arrested early Thursday on suspension of drunken driving.

Lance Dean Falcon, 44, of Plummer, Idaho, had a blood-alcohol level of .167 and .162 in two breathe samples submitted at the Spokane Public Safety Building after a Washington State Patrol trooper stopped him for speeding about 6 a.m. near Madison Road and Dishman Mica Road.

Falcon had an unopened can of Keystone Ice beer in his car, and police say they found an empty can of the same beer tossed in the street near where Falcon’s pickup stopped. They also say he smelled of alcohol and had glassy, bloodshot eyes and slurred speech.

Falcon said he was headed to a laundry mat than a golf tournament at Circling Raven that day at 11 a.m. He told police he’d had a “few” drinks and four to five hours of sleep, according to a police report. He gave an initial breath test of .169 before he was arrested for drunken driving and taken to the police station.

“Falcon said several times that he was done because this was his third strike,” according to the report.

Falcon faces a felony DUI charge because of his previous conviction for vehicular homicide. He also was arrested for drunken driving in 1996, 1998 and 2008, according to Idaho court records.

The 1998 arrest resulted from a serious car crash in North Idaho that injured a pregnant woman and her 3-year-old son.

Transient faces 10-12 years for slaying

A Spokane transient faces 10 to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaguther for the beating death of a man last April. 

Roland E. Benton II pleaded guilty Friday to first-degree manslaughter with a deadly weapon in the slaying of Douglas J. Klages, 46.

Klages' badly beaten body was discovered by hikers April 30 in a small cave at Camp Caro Community Park at Dishman Hills.

 Detectives retracing Klages' final hours found surveillance video of Klages leaving a Spokane Valley Rosauers store with Benton the day his body was discovered. Benton was arrested May 5.

Benton, who appeared in Spokane County Superior Court before Judge Sam Cozza, initially was charged with first-degree murder. The lesser charge to which he pleaded guilty carries a sentencing range of 102 to 126 months.

The deadly weapon adds two years to the sentencing range, and Benton will not be eligible for an early release based on good behavior. His sentencing is set for April 25. “The victim's family members were present and were satisfied,” Deputy Prosecutor Jim Kaufman said. Klages is pictured with his two daughters. Past coverage: May 5: Homicide victim hoped for fresh start

Drunk man’s home mix-up leads to arrest

 

A suspected drunken driver was arrested this morning after repeatedly using his house keys to try to open a home that wasn't his.
 
John Stephen Cullen, 56, twice tried to open a front door in the 18600 block of East Courtland Avenue before police detained him on a misdemeanor drunken driving charge.
 
A woman called 911 about 9:25 a.m. and said a suspicious man had parked his car in the driveway and tried his keys in her door. She watched as Cullen drove way westbound, then again parked in her driveway and tried his keys in the door.
 
Officer Glen Hinckley detained Cullen until Traffic Officer Jack Rosenthal arrived to process the suspect as a potential DUI driver.  Rosenthal booked Cullen into jail on the misdemeanor.   
 
“Cullen’s home address is in the 18700 block of East Boone Avenue,” according to a news release by Sgt. Dave Reagan. “The two addresses are on opposite sides of the Spokane River and about a mile apart.” 

Driver soon regrets drunken pick-up

An Athol man quickly regretted picking up a drunk man who was laying in the middle of a downtown Coeur d'Alene street last weekend.

According to police, Micah A. Wulff, 25, allowed the man into his truck just before 3 a.m. on Saturday but kicked the man out while northbound on Ramsey Road.

The angry man struck Wulff's truck, then swung at Wulff with a metal baton when confronted, according to the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department.

The man then “racked” the slide of a pistol and pointed it at Wulff. Wulff drove away and called police.

An Idaho State Police trooper arrested suspect Mason D. Brown, 22, in the 2400 block of West Dakota Avenue.

Brown had a handgun and said he was from Spokane Valley, according to a news release. He was booked into jail on charges of attempted aggravated battery, aggravated assault and intoxicated person with a firearm.

Unpaid bar tab leads to ID theft arrest

An unpaid bar tab led to a woman's arrest on identity theft charges in Spokane Valley late Saturday.

A man and woman left the Corner Club Bar, 2208 N. Park Road, with a $117 bar tab after their debit card was declined but said they were going to their nearby motel room to get cash.

When they didn't return, a bar employee gave the declined debit card to Spokane Valley police Officer Justin Elliot, who determined it was stolen.

Employees at the nearby Red Top Motel said the woman named on the stolen card had rented a room there, so Elliot and  Officers Dale Wells and David Lawhorn  went to the room “and contacted an intoxicated Kathryn Elizabeth Reed,” police said.

Reed, 24, first claimed to be the woman named on the card. She invited police to retrieve her medical marijuana card from her purse when police spotted pot on the nightstand.

Police didn't find the card, but they did find identification belonging to Reed, as well as financial information and mail from five other people, according to a news release. Each person lives in the area of 11800 East Maxwell Avenue, where the declined debit card was reported stolen in a car prowling Feb. 18.

Reed was booked into jail on a felony count of second-degree identity theft and misdemeanor counts of third-degree theft (for the bar tab) and possession of marijuana. 

Jury convicts veteran of hospital assault

A federal jury today convicted a man of assaulting two nurses at the Spokane Veteran Affairs Medical Center.

James D. Scott, 42, was drunk when he attacked a nurse after his girlfriend brought him to the emergency room on Aug. 19, 2009. Scott had a blood-alcohol level of .38 , according to court documents.

Three hours after the first assault, he kicked another nurse and grabbed him by the throat.

His lawyer told jurors that post traumatic stress disorder caused Scott to drink and urged them to acquit him of two felony counts of assaulting a government employee.

Jurors convicted Scott after about a day of deliberations  following the week-and-a-half long trial.

Scott, who's in custody at the Spokane County Jail, faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and three years probation.

Chronic DUI suspect Batty arrested again

A retired Spokane firefighter with a history of impaired driving and a conviction for vehicular homicide was arrested again Thursday after a state trooper smelled alcohol on his breath.

David W. Batty, 55, of Elk, had a blood alcohol level of twice the legal limit for driving when he was stopped for speeding about 11:30 a.m. at milepost 310 on U.S. Highway 2, according to Washington State Patrol.

Batty was arrested for felony drunken driving because of a conviction in 1993 for a fatal, alcohol-related car crash on the same road.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Michael Price set Batty’s bond at $5,000 today and prohibited him from driving and from consuming alcohol.

“Apparently Mr. Batty’s had some alcohol treatment on a couple of occasions, and, regretfully, it doesn’t appear to have taken hold,” Price said. I’m sure Mr. Batty is a nice gentleman, but I’ve got some real concerns about him being out there driving a vehicle with his inability to control his alcohol consumption.”

Deputy Prosecutor George Gagnon said he wasn’t concerned that Batty was a flight risk.

“We’re more interested here in community safety,” Gagnon said. “He’s already killed one person.”

Batty was rehired by the Spokane Fire Department after serving time in prison for vehicular homicide but was on medical leave when he caused a crash in January 2007 that killed three people. He was not charged in that crash but never returned to the Fire Department.

Batty’s latest DUI conviction came after he was stopped in July 2008 and tests showed he was impaired on prescription drugs and alcohol. He was sentenced to nine months in jail in 2009 for felony drunken driving.

Batty told police on Thursday that he had two drinks early that morning and had taken four prescription medications.

His public defender, Derek Reid, said Batty is in “significant pain” because of a back injury.

Police: grandma, grandson party hearty

PARIS, Tenn. (AP) — When a Henry County deputy finally stopped a speeding car on the wrong side of a highway, he found it had been driven by a 77-year-old grandmother.

Not that the stop was easy, reports The Paris Post-Intelligencer.

Barely an hour into the new year, Lt. Stan Pinson saw the car headed the wrong way in the northeast-bound lanes of divided Highway 79 northeast of Paris.

Pinson says driver Syble Dickens ignored the blue lights and siren, dodged spike strips and finally pulled over, saying she was still having “a good time.”

She's charged with DUI, speeding, reckless endangerment and failure to yield. Her 29-year-old grandson is charged with public intoxication. He slept through the chase.

Both are to appear in court Thursday.

Weather prompts teen revelers’ surrender

Two teenage revelers nearly escaped arrest in Lewiston early New Year's Day but surrendered “within a couple of minutes due to being cold and wet,” police said.

The boy and girl were drunk in a hot tub in the 3600 block of Country Club Court while the owners were away on vacation when police arrived about 3:15 a.m. on Jan. 1.

Police arrested a man who was passed out in a vehicle in front of the home, then saw the teens run from the home in their swimsuits but soon return. They told police only three were in the hot tub and were released to their parents, but officers learned about 9:15 a.m. that another juvenile had fled the scene and not been heard from since, according to a news release.

Police and the boy's parents were assisted by the Nez Perce County Sheriff's Office and a tracking dog “due to the extreme cold weather and the fact that the juvenile was believed to be clothed only in a swimsuit and possibly a t-shirt,” according to a news release.

A resident found the boy passed out in a bedroom at his home a block from the crime scene about 12:30 p.m., police said. All four face underage consumption of alcohol charges. The fourth suspect also is charged with unlawful entry.

Elton gets credit for time served in jail

A man convicted of harassing the Spokane city council president and the chairwoman of the company that owns The Spokesman-Review was sentenced today to credit for time already served in jail. 

David H. Elton, 44, will be on unsupervised probation for two years. He was sentenced to a year in jail with 351 days suspended. Elton already spent two weeks in jail after his arrest in February 2009.

A jury convicted him of misdemeanor harassment against Council President Joe Shogan and Cowles Co. chairwoman Betsy Cowles for emails sent in December 2008 and February 2009.

Prosecutors had sought felony convictions against Elton for threats to kill, but the jury ruled the victims did not reasonably fear for their lives.

A third charge alleging Elton harassed his ex-wife has been dismissed.

This morning, Deputy Prosecutor Dale Nagy asked Judge Maryann Moreno to prohibit Elton from consuming alcohol while on probation, but the judge declined, saying there was no way to enforce the requirement.

Past coverage:

Oct. 8: Jury convicts Elton of 2 misdemeanors

Oct. 6: Shogan, Cowles testify against Elton

Oct. 5: Elton on trial for Shogan, Cowles threats

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