April 20, 2011 in City, Region

WSU student hospitalized following alleged joy ride

Sarah Mason Moscow-Pullman Daily News
 

MOSCOW — A 22-year-old Washington State University student who was injured in a one-vehicle rollover Tuesday is suspected of causing damage to the WSU campus and golf course prior to the rollover.

Patrick Lipsker, of Spokane, was transported by helicopter to Sacred Heart Medical Center on Tuesday and was undergoing surgery Tuesday afternoon, according to a hospital spokesperson.

Colfax Police and Washington State Patrol first responded to the rollover in Colfax around 5 a.m. Tuesday on U.S. Highway 195.

Washington State University Police Lt. Steve Hansen said his department suspects Lipsker of causing damage to WSU campus and Palouse Ridge Golf Course before his collision. Hansen alleged the tread marks from Lipsker’s 1998 Jeep Cherokee can be seen throughout campus where he crashed through at least two fences, drove off road by the Student Recreation Center, by Nez Perce Village and through the golf course.

Though officials have yet to complete a damage report, Hansen said some of the grass on campus and on the golf course may have survived thanks to low temperatures that froze some of the grounds Monday night and Tuesday morning. Hansen said WSU Police may forward charges of malicious mischief, criminal trespass and reckless driving to the county prosecutor for every recorded area Lipsker is believed to have gone through on campus. More charges may also come from the state patrol once their investigation is completed.

Hansen said though Lipsker took his time driving around College Hill, no one saw him and there is no security footage.

“He had to make an effort to do it,” Hansen said. “There are (tracks showing) where he backed up and got another run at where he wanted to go.”

After driving through College Hill, Lipsker headed north, where his car slid on ice as he approached Colfax. Colfax Police Chief Bill Hickman said Lipsker’s vehicle crossed from the northbound lane into the southbound lane just before the highway intersects Mill Street. Lipsker’s car then jumped a curb and hit a retaining wall before it rolled one or two times, Hickman said.

Colfax Volunteer Firefighters and emergency personnel extracted Lipsker from his vehicle and he was immediately flown to the hospital. Hickman said Lipsker may have been heading to Spokane for his mother’s birthday.

While officers didn’t smell alcohol or see any alcoholic containers in Lipsker’s vehicle at the scene, Washington State Patrol troopers drew blood at the hospital to test Lipsker’s blood for alcohol.

“It was only after he was transported that it became a potential interest,” Hickman said.

The results of the blood test have not been released.

Washington State Patrol Trooper Troy Briggs said troopers assisted Colfax Police Department in measuring the driver’s blood alcohol level, but declined to say what that level was.

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