Chronic offender pulled over before noon
A retired Spokane firefighter with a history of impaired driving and a conviction for vehicular homicide was arrested again Thursday after a state trooper smelled alcohol on his breath.
David W. Batty, 55, of Elk, had a blood-alcohol level of twice the legal limit for driving when he was stopped for speeding about 11:30 a.m. at milepost 310 on U.S. Highway 2, according to the Washington State Patrol.
Batty was arrested for felony drunken driving because of a 1993 conviction for a fatal, alcohol-related car crash on the same road.
Spokane County Superior Court Judge Michael Price on Friday set Batty’s bond at $5,000 and prohibited him from driving and from consuming alcohol.
“Apparently Mr. Batty’s had some alcohol treatment on a couple of occasions, and, regretfully, it doesn’t appear to have taken hold,” Price said. “I’m sure Mr. Batty is a nice gentleman, but I’ve got some real concerns about him being out there driving a vehicle with his inability to control his alcohol consumption.”
Deputy Prosecutor George Gagnon said he wasn’t concerned that Batty was a flight risk.
“We’re more interested here in community safety,” Gagnon said. “He’s already killed one person.”
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.
He was sentenced to nine months in jail in 2009 for felony drunken driving.
Batty’s latest DUI conviction came after he was stopped in July 2008 and tests showed he was impaired on prescription drugs and alcohol. Batty told police on Thursday that he had two drinks early that morning and had taken four prescription medications.
His public defender, Derek Reid, said Batty is in “significant pain” because of a back injury.
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