Arrow-right Camera


Repeat drunken driver Batty pleads not guilty

A retired Spokane firefighter and convicted drunken driver pleaded not guilty Wednesday to his latest charge stemming from a traffic stop last month.

David W. Batty, 55, of Elk, pleaded not guilty to felony driving under the influence. The DUI charge was a felony based on Batty’s history, which includes a conviction for vehicular homicide in 1993.

Batty was stopped on U.S. Highway 2 on Jan. 6 and had a blood-alcohol level of twice the legal limit, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The city of Spokane rehired Batty after he served two years in jail from a 1993 vehicular homicide conviction. Batty was on medical leave in January 2007 when he caused a crash that killed three people, but Spokane County prosecutors did not file vehicular homicide charges.

Batty never returned to the fire department, but continued to have several traffic-related scrapes with the law, including a July 2008 felony DUI arrest from which he served nine months in jail in 2009.

Deputy Prosecutor Mike Nelson asked Superior Court Judge Michael Price for a $25,000 bond, but Batty’s defense attorney, David Miller, said his client is currently undergoing random testing and has been complying with a previous order barring Batty from driving.

“This is the first I’ve heard of an offer for testing,” Nelson said.

Price cited “community safety concerns” but ruled that Batty can remain out of jail as long as he does not drive and continues with random testing from an agency approved by prosecutors. The felony DUI trial was set for April 25.

Top stories in Spokane

Freeman students march in unity to honor memory of slain classmate Sam Strahan

UPDATED: 9:38 p.m.

Drenched in sunshine and a sharp spring wind, more than 70 students marched Friday out of Freeman High School behind a “Freeman Strong” banner to the same football field where they sheltered in fear last September following the shooting that killed 15-year-old Sam Strahan and injured three girls.