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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: drunken driving

219 DUI arrests over holiday season

A holiday season crackdown on drunken driving led to 219 arrests across Spokane, Pend Oreille and Ferry counties.

That’s up from 197 arrests during the same period a year earlier, according to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. The increase is attributed to the first-ever “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement effort from Nov. 21 to Jan. 1 targeting drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Statewide, 3,446 motorists were arrested during the crackdown.

Participating in the Eastern Washington crackdown were the following law enforcement agencies: Cheney, Airway Heights, Eastern Washington University, Republic, Spokane and Spokane Valley police departments; the Spokane, Pend Oreille and Ferry County sheriff’s offices; and the Washington State Patrol, with the support of the Spokane County Target Zero Task Force.

The extra patrols were funded by a grant from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

Switch to back seat saves man’s life

A man's decision to move to the back seat of a car as he drunkenly argued with his brother may have saved his life early Sunday, police said today.

Spokane County sheriff's Deputy Jeff Thurman doesn't believe the man would have survived the crash into a large steel pole at South Schaffer Road and South Dishman Mica Road had he been in the front passenger seat, which is where the impact occurred.

Instead the man received only minor injuries, as did his brother, Stephen Stebbins, 18.

Stebbins was driving southbound on Dishman Mica when he crossed over into the northbound lanes and soon collided with the pole.

Stebbins was pulling the steering wheel back and forth prior to the crash, which caused the vehicle to slide sideways into the pole.

Stebbins was arrested for DUI Unconscious and taken to a local hospital for a blood draw. He was released to hospital custody, and charges will be forwarded to prosecutors once blood results are back.
  

Dump truck joy ride strikes power lines

Police say a man stole a dump truck and took it on a drunken joy ride that destroyed light poles and power lines in the city of Colville.

Robert Gene Bankston Hartman, 28, told officers he didn't mean to knock down the lines when he stole the dump truck from a construction site and drove it through town. He said he'd had about 14 beers when police confronted him about 9:45 p.m. on July 23, but later told police he'd actually been drinking vodka.

Police had heard residents were trapped in their homes at South Wynne Street and West Columbia Avenue because of down power lines. They soon realized Hartman and the stolen dump truck were to blame. Hartman abandoned the truck at 1st Street and Railroad Street and ran, but an officer blocked his path with his police car.

About 1,400 people lost power for about two hours because of the melee. The area extended from Highway 395 at Pingston Creek to just south of Colville, from Valley Westside just east of Colville High School, police said.

One witness told police that Hartman was laughing while he was striking the power lines.

Hartman's blood alcohol level registered at .226 and .220. The legal limit for driving is .08.

Hartman is charged with first-degree malicious mischief, second-degree taking a motor vehicle without permission and drunken driving.

Hospital staff: Crash suspect faked it

Spokane police Officer Teresa Fuller rewards crash victim Danika Packard with a free ice cream coupon for wearing her bicycle helmet. (SPD photo)

A former Gonzaga Law School student pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a hit-and-run crash that police say could have killed a 2-year-old girl had she not been wearing a helmet.

Timmy Ngoc Nguyen, 22, is out of jail awaiting trial for charges of vehicular assault and hit and run.
Nguyen is accused of driving his 2003 Honda Element drunk and striking a family riding bicycles on East Maringo Drive.

He was taken to a hospital to get a blood sample and was unresponsive, but staff told deputies they believed “Nguyen had been faking his unresponsiveness,” according to court documents.
“Security had to hold him down to re-secure his restraints,” according to court documents. “Nguyen lunged toward security with his head and tried to bite them. Nguyen was very belligerent, uncooperative, and hostile towards everyone at the hospital.

Witnesses said Nguyen turned westbound onto Maringo from North Argonne Road but entered the eastbound lanes and hit a bicycle trailer carrying Danika Packard.

A witness followed Nguyen back to the Pasadena apartment complex at East Wellesley Avenue and North Pasadena Lane, where he was arrested. Nguyen was at a party there before he left in his Honda and struck the family, police say.

Deputies say Nguyen vomited in the back of the patrol car and appeared extremely intoxicated. He refused to talk to police about what happened but repeatedly asked if he was arrested and told them he was a law student, according to court documents. ”

Nguyen asked sheriff's Deputy Nathan Bohanek if he was going home after they left the hospital. Bohanek said no.

“He told Nguyen he ran over a 2-year-old kid and could have killed them,” documents say. “Nguyen was not responsive to that.”

Police seized Nguyen's Honda and noticed damage consistent with the crash.

Nguyen had been interning for Spokane lawyer Mark Vovos.

Nguyen's trial was scheduled Tuesday for Oct. 22, but that is likely to be postponed.

Woman sentenced for fatal hit and run

A 21-year-old woman who drove away after fatally striking a Spokane pedestrian earlier this year has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison.

Hannah K. Hahn is to serve 31 months behind bars with credit for 180 days already served. She pleaded guilty Friday to vehicular homicide for a crash in January that killed Dennis Burgess, 47.

Police say Hahn smelled of alcohol and had “some small bottles of alcohol” on her when they stopped a 1999 Dodge Durango as it sped north on Market near Hawthorne Road about 2:17 a.m.

Hahn told them she thought she hit someone with her car. The SUV's windshield was broken and its front end and hood were damaged.

Police found Burgess unconscious in the street near Providence and Market with severe head trauma. He was pronounced dead at a hospital. He was a father of three and worked as a carpenter and landscaper.

In addition to 31 months in prison, Hahn is to pay $4,362 restitution.

Past coverage

Jan. 30: Patrols follow pedestrian-auto crashes

More witnesses sought in hit and run

Investigators are looking to speak with people who were at a party attended by a man accused of a drunken hit and run crash that injured a 2-year-old girl in Spokane Valley last week.

Timmy Nguyen, 22, was at a party at the clubhouse at the Pasadena apartment complex at East Wellesley Avenue and North Pasadena Lane before he left in a 2003 Honda Element and alleged struck a family riding bicycles near East Maringo Drive and North Argonne Road.

Danika Packard was riding in a bicycle trailer that police say was flattened by Nguyen's car. A witness followed Nguyen back to the apartment complex, where he was arrested.

Cpl. Dave Thornburg interviewed the witness and said the man doesn't consider himself a hero, rather “he did what any parent or concerned citizen would do in similar circumstances,” according to a news release.

Thornburg is looking to speak to party goers to learn more about Nguyen's actions before the crash.

“Nobody from the party is in trouble or suspected of committing a crime, as it was not underage drinking party or anything along those lines,” Thornburg wrote.

Thornburg can be reached by phone at (509) 477-2710 and email at dthornburg@spokanesheriff.org.

The girl, who has been rewarded for wearing a bicycle helmet, was released from a hospital Wednesday and is recovery well. Thornburg served two search warrants Thursday, one of the car and another for Nguyen's medical records at Valley hospital. Nguyen, a student at Gonzaga Law School, was treated there briefly after he vomited in the back of the patrol car and police noticed labored breathing, according to the news release.

Helmet-wearing girl rewarded w/ treat

Spokane police rewarded a 2-year-old girl hit by a suspected drunken driver Monday with free ice cream for wearing her bicycle helmet.

Police said Tuesday that three new helmets already have been given to Danika Parker to replace the one destroyed Saturday evening after a motorist flattened the bicycle trailer she was riding in in Spokane Valley.

Timmy Nguyen, 22, is accused of driving drunk and hitting the trailer near East Maringo Drive and North Argonne Road, then driving away. Witnesses followed him to East Wellesley Avenue and North Pasadena Lane, where he was arrested.

Nguyen, a student at Gonzaga Law School, faces charges of felony hit and run and vehicular assault.

Police said Danika fractured her skull but is expected to recover.

A picture posted on the department’s Facebook page Tuesday showed the girl with road rash on her cheek but no other obvious injuries. She appeared in good spirits as Spokane police Officer Teresa Fuller gave her a coupon for ice cream at McDonald’s.

Law student arrested for hit and run

As a Gonzaga University law student accused of running over a bicycle trailer carrying a 2-year-old girl made his first appearance in court Monday, the victim remained in intensive care at a Spokane hospital.

Timmy Nguyen, who has no criminal record, is to leave jail tonight after appearing before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Annette Plese on charges of hit-and-run and vehicular assault. He’s to stay away from alcohol and is due back in court for an arraignment in early August.

Read the rest of the story here.

Man pleads guilty in deadly ‘10 crash

A college student has pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide for a 2010 crash that killed a Lewis and Clark High graduate and Eastern Washington University student.

Taylor D. Marean is to be sentenced Sept. 20 by Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque. He pleaded guilty before Leveque Thursday morning for the Feb. 14, 2010 crash that killed Jacoby N. Bryant, 19 (pictured).

Marean faces 31 to 41 months in prison under Washington's standard sentencing range guidline, said Deputy Prosecutor Mary Ann Brady. The sentence is for someone with no criminal history convicted under the drunken driving prong of the vehicular homicide statute.

Another driver, Brooke A. Reese, was sentenced last November to about a year in jail for vehicular homicide statute under the disregard for the safety of others prong.

Reese and Marean were racing when they crashed on on southbound Hatch Road near 54th Avenue.

Bryant was a passenger in Reese's 1999 Pontiac Grand Am (pictured). Marean was driving a 2005 BMW.

Past coverage:

May 28, 2010: Documents give new details on deadly crash

April 27, 2010: Charges in deadly crash on hold for school

April 5, 2010: Charges recommended in crash that killed teen

La. cop fired for stealing suspect’s phone

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A 27-year-old police officer in Louisiana has resigned after authorities say he stole an iPhone from the scene of a drunken-driving crash.

Cpl. Tommy Stubbs, a police spokesman in Baton Rouge, says the phone wasn't in the car when the driver got out of jail. Stubbs says a tracking feature showed that its name had been changed to “Jake Chustz's iPhone,” and the driver recognized the name as that of an officer who had worked at the wreck June 2. He filed a complaint.

Stubbs says Chustz (SHOOTS) was booked late Wednesday with felony theft and malfeasance in office, and resigned early Thursday. He had worked for the department for five years.

An online jail listing shows he's free on $10,000 bond. A message left at a listing for Jake Chustz wasn't immediately returned.

Car stolen at knifepoint during cleaning

A woman was carjacked as she vacuumed her Chevy Camaro at a car wash near Browne's Addition Saturday night, Spokane police say.

Larry D. Vermillion, 43, is accused of stealing the woman's car at knifepoint from the Brown Bear car wash, 1821 W. Sunset Ave., about 8 p.m., then drunkenly driving through downtown Spokane before colliding with a taxi cab.

Phyla J. Beell flagged down police and said the man told her “Steve” sent him before he threatened her with the knife, according to court documents. Beell told police she climbed out the driver's window of her 1993 Camaro because the driver's door doesn't open.

Beell contacted a friend inside the Sunset Junction, and the two chased the stolen Camaro down West Third Avenue before losing site of it on South Howard Street.

Police say the Camaro crossed lanes, went the wrong way and slowed down to about 5 mph to drive through a parking lot before running a red light at Third and South Browne Street and being struck by the taxi.

Vermillion was booked into jail on charges of first-degree robbery, second-degree assault and attempting to elude police.
  

Man blows .224 after head-on crash

The Spokane Police Department provided this photo of the crash on the SPD Facebook page.

A 21-year-old Spokane man was arrested for vehicular assault after crashing his truck head-on into a semi truck on Thursday and injuring his passenger.

Joseph A. Hussey's blood-alcohol level registered at .224 before he was jailed on a vehicular assault charge for the crash in the 3900 block of East Broadway Avenue, according to the Spokane Police Department.

The legal limit for driving is .08.

Police say he smelled of intoxicants and told them he was going to home to Spokane Valley from the Satellite bar downtown.

Hussey also slurred his speech and failed field sobriety tests, police say.

He was booked into the Spokane County Jail on the felony charge.

Chronic DUI suspect Crabtree sentenced

A chronic drunken driving suspect who badly injured a sheriff's deputy in a crash about 10 years ago has been sentenced to two years in prison on drug charges.

James Lee Crabtree, 51, is in the Spokane County Jail awaiting transport to prison after being sentenced to 24 months for possession of a controlled substance and delivery of a controlled substance.

He was sentenced last month to a year in jail and two years probation for a felony DUI charge.

Crabtree was a Spokane County sheriff's deputy in the 1980s. He went to prison for vehicular assault in 2003 and was arrested in November 2011 on suspicion of drunken driving after motorists noticed him passing out at the wheel of his car.

Police found an open can of Four Loko in the car, but his blood-alcohol level was under the legal limit for driving, and he was never charged. His current convictons stems from drunken driving and meth arrests in April and July.

In January, Crabtree was assaulted in a home-invasion robbery in which two assailants demanded “dope and money,” according to court documents.

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.
  

New to Spokane, man robbed during jog

A man who arrived in Spokane about a week ago from Ethiopia was robbed while jogging on the South Hill early Sunday, police say.

The 38-year-old victim does not speak English but said he recognized the word “money” when a man approached him about 5:20 a.m. near West 8th Avenue and South Adams Street, according to court documents.

The victim said he tried to communicate with the man, but the man grabbed his necklace and acted as though he was reaching for a weapon.

The man said he feared for his life and backed up as the robber broke the necklace and stole two charms from it. The victim's friend translated his Tigrigna language to English for police.

Police spotted William C. Calamanco, 25, in the area, and the victim identified him as the robbery by his tattoos. Police say Calamanco is suspected in similar attacks. Calamanco told police the man offered his necklace in exchange for meth, but officers didn't believe him and booked him into jail for second-degree robbery.

Calamanco was out of jail awaiting trial for two felony cases. One is a vehicular assault charge for a crash Feb. 5 in which he allegedly bragged to a nurse that he was “driving really, really, really fast.” The other is a burglary case that occurred in November but wasn't solved until February.
  

Man arrested for DUI, drugs after crash

A man described by sheriff's deputies as “extremely intoxicated” crashed his Jeep Cherokee into trees near Handy and Hatch roads in Colbert early Saturday.

Warren Anderson, 22, said he couldn't remember how much he had to drink but “it was a lot,” the Spokane County Sheriff's Office said today. Anderson had a pill in a piece of burned foil that he said he was a “Roxi” but also said “that he did not really know what he was smoking,” the sheriff's office said.

Deputy Chad Ruff determined the pill was the narcotic Roxicodone. He and Deputy Scott Kenoyer contacted Anderson after responding to the one-car crash about 4:30 a.m.

A witness told dispatcher he'd seen the Jeep at the intersection of Handy and Hatch about a half an hour earlier, and the driver was sitting in the driver's seat not moving. He saw the Jeep crashed when he drove back through the intersection.

Deputies said they smelled a strong odor of intoxicants as they approached the Jeep. They said Anderson refused to exit the vehicle but “was placed under arrest” for drunken driving and began to cooperate, according to the sheriff's office.

Anderson was booked into jail on charges of driving under the influence and possession of a controlled substance.

Chronic drunken driver gets 17 months

A retired Spokane firefighter with a history of impaired driving and a conviction for vehicular homicide has been sentenced to 17 months in prison for drunken driving.

A jury convicted David W. Batty, 56, of drunken driving after a short trial in Spokane County Superior Court earlier this month.

He was booked into the Spokane County Jail on Friday, where he's awaiting transport to prison to begin his sentence. He'll be credited for time already spend in jail, which includes the month he was there after his arrest in January.

Batty had a blood-alcohol level of twice the legal limit for driving when he was stopped for speeding about 11:30 a.m. in January 2011 at milepost 310 on U.S. Highway 2.  Batty told police that he had two drinks early that morning and had taken four prescription medications, according to court documents.

The charge was a felony because Batty has a previous conviction for a fatal, alcohol-related car crash in 1993.

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.

Then in 2009, he was sentenced to nine months in jail after he was stopped in July 2008 and tests showed he was impaired on prescription drugs and alcohol.

Boy arrested for DUI after police chase

A 17-year-old boy in a stolen van was arrested for drunken driving after running into a fast food restaurant, then disabling his front tires by running over a curb.

The boy also faces charges of attempting to elude police, possession of a stolen vehicle, hit and run, possession of marijuana and driving while license suspended after deputies were dispatched to a van driving recklessly Saturday about 7:30 a.m. in the area of East Bigelow Gulch Road and North Argonne Road, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Witnesses called 911 to report the van, and sheriff's Deputy Matt Spink caught up with near Highway 2 and Day-Mt. Spokane Road.

Spink followed the van and was told by dispatchers that it had just run into the Zip Trip nearby, according to the sheriff's office. He tried to stop the van, but it sped away before the boy drove it over a curb near Lane Park and Chesapeake Road, which disabled the front tires.

Spink arrested the boy. The owner of the van said he'd parked it in front of his home about 11 p.m. the night before and did not know the boy or that his van had been stolen.
  

Drunken crash into house leads to arrest

A woman suspected of drunkenly crashing her car into a house will remain jailed on $7,500 bond, despite her lawyer's claim that she is not a danger to the community.

“Crashing into someone's house doesn't count as a danger to the community?” Judge Annette Plese asked public defender Steve Heintz.

Plese told suspect Angelique P. Sam, 39, that she disagreed with Heintz - someone driving drunk, suicidal and ramming a house is indeed a danger to the community, Plese said.

Heintz had asked for Sam to be released on her own recognizance, saying there was no indication she would put the public at risk.

Sam was arrested Sunday after police responded to a crash near East Foothills and North Standard Street about 4:20 a.m. An officer contacted Sam as she tried to run and noted she had slurred speech and appeared drunk

Police say Sam “had urinated herself, completely covering her groin and leg area,” according to court documents. She admitted to driving drunk, police said.

“I drank a lot and tried to hit the house,” Sam said, according to court documents. “I usually don't drink but I couldn't help myself.”

Sam's passenger, who was injured, told police Sam intentionally crashed into the home.

Sam was involved in a murder trial in 2007 involving her husband, Avery E. Sam, who's now serving 24 1/2 years in prison for murdering the couple's great nephew, who was placed in their home under an agreement between state welfare workers and the Yakama Nation Tribal Court.
  

Man injured in crash during police chase

A Cheney man was arrested for drunken driving and eluding police early today in Stevens County.

Todd Earl Toreson, 38, lost control of his 2004 Ford F150 about 12:46 a.m. near on state Route 231 about 12 miles south of Springdale, according to Washington State Patrol.

His passenger, Beau Earl Lyons, 33, of Sedro Woolley, was injured and transported to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Toreson was not injured.

Wellpinit Tribal police were pursuing Toreson when he crashed the truck and rolled into a ditch, WSP said.

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