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Former school board member accused of hitting bicyclist while driving drunk pleads guilty to lesser charge

UPDATED: Tue., July 17, 2018, 9:22 p.m.

FILE – University High School teacher Paul Schneider conducts his A.P. History class, Nov. 3, 2016, in Spokane Valley, Wash. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
FILE – University High School teacher Paul Schneider conducts his A.P. History class, Nov. 3, 2016, in Spokane Valley, Wash. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

A former Spokane school board member accused of vehicular assault after hitting a bicyclist while driving drunk last year recently pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of failure to remain at the scene of an accident.

Paul H. Schneider, 43, who was also a teacher at University High School in the Central Valley School District and candidate for state senate before his arrest, was sentenced Wednesday to just two days in jail with credit for time served.

The felony conviction, which has a standard sentencing range of three to nine months, means Schneider will not have the right to vote or own a firearm for several years. Prosecutors dropped charges of a second count of failure to remain at the scene of an accident and DUI as part of the plea agreement, in addition to the vehicular assault charge.

The former teacher was arrested last June after police say he hit a bicyclist on Rockwood Boulevard near Southwest Boulevard while driving drunk and fled the area before crashing his vehicle into a power pole and knocking down power lines. The bicyclist suffered injuries to his left hip, back, elbow, knee and hand.

Witnesses told police they saw Schneider drive his maroon van through intersections going about 30 mph. After he crashed, they reported a heavy smell of alcohol coming from the driver’s side door.

Shortly after his arrest, Schneider left his job at University High School and resigned from his position on the school board. He also did not run for state office.