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Suspended firefighter pleads innocent in second DUI arrest

Former Spokane firefighter Todd Chism pleaded not guilty today to driving while intoxicated just four months after he was charged with assaulting two Washington State Patrol troopers who were investigating another possible drunken driving offense.

Chism appeared today before Municipal Court Judge Michelle Szambelan with his attorney Ronald Van Wert. Both Van Wert and Chism declined to be interviewed following the hearing.

Szambelan complied with a prosecutor’s request to boost Chism’s bond from $500 to $1,500 and allowed him to remain out of custody as long as he has no new law violations and avoids drinking while driving. His next court date was set for Sept. 28 at 9 a.m.

“He is well aware that he needs to stay in compliance with the law and intends to do so,” Van Wert said.

Chism was arrested at about 2 a.m. Saturday after he was seen driving down the wrong way on Ash Street near Euclid Avenue, according to Spokane Police.

Chism was a lieutenant with the Spokane Fire Department before he was arrested in April following a confrontation with troopers near Chism’s Stevens County home. After that arrest, city officials placed him on “unpaid layoff” status, which means he’s essentially severed from the city unless he is exonerated, city spokeswoman Marlene Feist said.

Chism was exonerated in 2008 after the WSP wrongly charged him in connection with a child pornography case. A civil suit against that agency has been dismissed but Chism is appealing the judge’s ruling.



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