Driver in injury accident has history of DUIs

FRIDAY, OCT. 23, 2009, 11:55 A.M.

A driver involved in an injury accident near Springdale, Wash., on Wednesday has a long history of driving under the influence and other offenses, including habitually driving with a suspended license.

Michael J. Forsyth Jr., 42, is being held today on $50,000 bond in Stevens County Jail after a Washington state trooper arrested him Wednesday night.

The trooper almost had Forsyth stopped, but he took off and slammed into another vehicle carrying a pregnant passenger. She and the driver were injured but not seriously.

The accident occurred on state Highway 292 just east of Springdale.

The state trooper was out of his car on a traffic stop when he received a call of an erratic driver in the area. Suddenly, the erratic driver appeared, and the trooper waved the driver over, officials said.

The trooper approached the vehicle and asked the man to get out after smelling alcohol, but the driver, whom police identified as Forsyth, took off.

Moments later, Forsyth allegedly swerved into the eastbound lane and crashed with the vehicle driven by Justin D. Icard, 24, and Brittany J. Knudson, 19, both of Spokane. Knudson is eight months pregnant.

They were treated and released on the night of the accident from Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Forsyth also was treated and released to authorities from Providence Holy Family Hospital and booked into jail later that night.

Now, the Stevens County prosecuting attorney has until Monday afternoon to decide which of the potential violations Forsyth will face this time.

According to state patrol records, Forsyth could face charges of felony DUI involving injuries; driving with license suspended or revoked because of previous DUI convictions; attempt to elude; and driving a vehicle without an anti-alcohol ignition locking device, which was required in a previous court order.

Forsyth’s previous convictions occurred in Stevens, Lincoln and Spokane counties. He has not had an arrest in Washington since 2004.

His convictions include three for domestic violence assault in 1994 and 1997; DUIs in 1995, 1997, 2000, 2001 and 2004; being in physical control of a vehicle while intoxicated in 2000; and being a habitual traffic offender with license suspended or revoked.

He was also convicted of hit and run in 2000 and malicious mischief in 2004. His rap sheet includes driving with license suspended or revoked in 1995 and 1997.

“Anybody who is a repeat offender who continues to do it we would like to get off the road,” said Trooper Troy Briggs, spokesman for WSP in Spokane.

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