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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: driving under the influence

Driver arraigned in wrong-way I90 crash

A Spokane woman who was driving the wrong way on Interstate 90 when she struck and killed 27-year-old Post Falls motorist in March was arraigned today on two felony charges. 

Teri Marie Scheele, 30, told police she had taken an oxycodone pill and “a couple” of hydrocodone pills before the three-car crash on March 25 about 3:10 a.m. at milepost 293 in the eastbound lanes under the Barker Road overpass, according to a probable cause affidavit filed Nov. 4 in Superior Court.

Kenneth Joel Hardin (pictured) was pronounced dead at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Police say Scheele had slurred speech but did not smell of intoxicants. A blood test showed signs of Oxycodone and Hydromorphone use, according to the affidavit.

A Washington State Patrol detective talked to seven people who saw Scheele driving the wrong way on the interstate.

The detective also talked to the driver of the third vehicle, Andrew R. Samek, 37, of Hayden, who, despite initial reports that he wasn't injured, suffered a broken neck when he struck Hardin's 1989 Mazda MX6 coupe while trying to avoid the crash then hit a cable barrier, documents say.

Scheele pleaded not guilty today to vehicular homicide and vehicula assault. She's out of custody awaiting trial, which her public defender, Derek Reid, said is scheduled to begin Feb. 13.

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.

Stop for help leads to DUI, pot arrest

A Deer Park man was arrested early today after a deputy who stopped to help him with his broken down truck found $1,200 and nearly two ounces of marijuana in the vehicle.

Trevor L. Weger, 30, was with his Toyota pickup at Highway 395 and Hatch Road when Spokane County sheriff’s Deputy Robert Brooke contacted him about 2:45 a.m.

Brooke said Weger appeared to be intoxicated and called a state trooper for assistance. The trooper arrested Weger for driving under the influence; and a passenger who was later released handed Brooke a plastic container with four baggies of marijuana.

The trooper, who Sgt. Dave Reagan said was searching for vehicle registration, found cash and marijuana in the truck’s center console. The pot weighed 47 grams, and police counted more than $1,200 in cash, according to a news release by Reagan.

Weger was booked into Spokane County Jail on a drunken driving charge and a felony charge of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.

.354 DUI suspect: ‘Not enough’ booze

A suspected drunken driver whose blood-alcohol content registered at .354 told police he hadn’t had enough to drink.

Donald J. Lafavor, 66, was driving southbound in a northbound lane on Argonne Road just north of Trent Avenue when a Washington State Patrol trooper spotted him about 1:22 a.m. on Sunday.

Trooper Darren Britton approached Lafavor in a fast food restaurant parking lot.

“I asked Lafavor how much he’d had to drink and his reply was ‘not enough,’” Britton said in a report. “He said he was going to go home and have more to drink.”

After registering a blood-alcohol content more than four times the legal limit for driving, “Lafavor commented to himself that he didn’t know how he got that high,” Britton wrote. “…He tried to convince me the cold medicine was why his blood alcohol level was so high.”

Lafavor, who has two previous drunken driving convictions, left jail Tuesday night after posting $7,500 bond for the driving charges and for a felony assault case connected to a confrontation with two Spokane County sheriff’s deputies. He did not answer a cell phone call seeking comment.

Lafavor was shot by the deputies several times and is charged with second-degree assault for allegedly pointing a gun at them.

Superior Court Judge Michael Price on Tuesday prohibited Lafavor from driving or consuming alcohol.

Drunken driving suspect blows .354

A suspected drunken driver arrested in Spokane on Monday had a blood-alcohol level more than four times the legal limit for driving, according to court testimony.

Donald J. Lafavor, 66, blew a .354 and was booked into Spokane County Jail about 6:15 p.m. on Monday. Details on the time and place of his drunken driving stop were not immediately available.

At first appearances today, Spokane County Superior Court Judge Michael Price called Lafavor’s alcohol level “quite frankly, extraordinary.”

“I can’t believe that someone could be up and walking, let alone driving,” Price said.

Lafavor is scheduled for trial in January on second-degree assault charges for a confrontation with two Spokane County sheriff’s deputies last fall. Lafavor survived several gunshot wounds after deputies said he’d pointed a gun out the door at his East Broadway Avenue apartment after they knocked but didn’t identify themselves as law enforcement.

Lafavor was given a $2,500 bond for the drunken driving charge in District Court. Price set a new $5,000 bond in his assault case and prohibited him from driving or consuming alcohol if he leaves jail. Lafavor had already posted $10,000 bond last December.

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