Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — A southeast Idaho woman has filed a discrimination lawsuit against Bonneville County. The Post Register reports (http://www.postregister.com/node/55767) that Kendalee Rydalch filed the lawsuit May 20 and is seeking $1 million. The lawsuit says Rydalch was fired from her job as a juvenile probation officer with the county in February 2013. The lawsuit says the firing came six days after she was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. The lawsuit contends that a male supervisor in 2007 was found guilty of driving under the influence while on duty but kept his job. Bonneville County Commissioner Roger Christensen says the county hasn't yet seen the lawsuit and declined to comment.
A man suspected of drunken driving had his keys confiscated by an off-duty Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy who witnessed the man trying to drive over some boulders near Liberty Park, according to court documents.
Wayne Pederson crashed his Toyota pickup near a trailhead at the park just south of Interstate 90 in Central Spokane earlier this week. A sheriff's deputy who was home at the time of the crash left his home to find Pederson trying to drive over a boulder that was blocking the trail, he told investigating officers.
Pederson then fell out of his truck, according to court documents. The deputy took Pederson's keys and called law enforcement, who arrived and conducted a sobriety test. The investigating officer listed Pederson's level of impairment as “obvious.”
Pederson refused a breathalyzer and blood draw at the scene, according to court documents.
On her Facebook wall, Cindy tells of a close encounter with a drunk driver Saturday night: “So Sam's pizza was a little cold and date night lasted a bit longer and was a tad more dangerous than usual. We saw a guy in a sliver sedan jump a curb at Francis and Division, then hit two curbs. As he drove 5 mph east on Francis I called 911 and thus began a 28 minute adventure while we followed the dude through our neighborhood as he alternately stopped in the middle of streets, drove up on sidewalks and periodically left his car in the middle of the road in to lean up against street signs and light poles. The 911 operator said, “Ma'am don't put yourself in any danger. Officers have been notified but we appreciate you letting us know where the driver is.” Finally, we saw the flashing lights and watched as the Spokane PD pulled the guy over on Magnesium. I could not have gone home tonight, knowing that guy was out there on the roads. And Sam doesn't mind cold pizza.”
Question: Have you ever called 911 to report a possible DUI?
A man arrested after crashing his vehicle and refusing a breathalyzer test earlier this week blamed the accident on his mother, who was nowhere near the scene of the accident.
Larry Coleman was found by Liberty Lake firefighters sitting behind the steering wheel of his car, which was resting in a snowy ditch along Interstate 90 around 6 p.m. Monday, according to court documents. Coleman was not injured and was the only person in the car when law enforcement arrived.
When a Washington State Patrol office arrived, Coleman had moved to the passenger's seat, according to court documents. He told the patrolman his mother had been driving at the time of the one-vehicle accident and that she'd started walking along the highway toward Liberty Lake following the crash.
Liberty Lake police officers and firefighters found no woman on the highway, according to court records.
Coleman admitted to drinking a couple beers and refused a breathalyzer test after speaking with an attorney. A court order was signed to test his blood for intoxicants and he was arrested, according to court documents.
A Spokane woman implicated in a massive 2013 bust of an alleged prescription painkiller peddling ring was arrested early Tuesday on suspicions of driving under the influence, according to court documents.
Ashley Arredondo, 28, is one of 62 named defendants in a federal court case that has grown so large the judge has separated defendants into three groups. She was arrested in late February 2013 and released after posting bond a week later, according to court records. Arredondo faces a federal count of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance, a charge which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Shortly after 3 a.m. Tuesday, Arredondo was arrested in North Spokane near the 500 block of West Sierra Way, according to court documents. Deputies found Arredondo after she allegedly crashed into a home in her 2004 Cadillac Escalade and drove off. She told police she'd been drinking at two bars.
When deputies attempted to walk Arredondo to a nearby patrol car to take her to jail, she allegedly turned and spit in the face of one of the officers “without warning,” according to court documents.
Arredondo faces charges of driving under the influence, leaving the scene of a collision and third-degree assault of an officer. She is listed in custody of the Spokane County Jail.
The federal drug case continues its lengthy trek through the legal system. A jury trial in the case has been tentatively scheduled for May.
Boise Police made 18 DUI arrests over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, as part of a statewide campaign that funded additional patrols. Among those arrested in Boise between Thursday and Sunday: One driver who hit a parked van Friday evening, then took off, leaving a trail of fluid, and crashed into some bushes; witnesses to the collision with the van called police, who followed the trail of fluid to the extremely intoxicated driver. Another driver was arrested for felony DUI after getting on the freeway without his lights on early Saturday morning; he had two previous offenses, making this one a felony. The 18 arrests were up from 13 during the same holiday period last year and 15 the year before, but Boise Police spokeswoman Lynn Hightower said overall, DUI arrests have been trending downward in Boise in recent years. “Hopefully it’s an anomaly,” she said. “The officers are going to be out there.”
The arrests came as part of a statewide crackdown on impaired driving, funded by grant funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; 62 local police and sheriff’s departments participated in the Thanksgiving holiday mobilization, which is one of five held each year, and received $75,000 in grants for additional officer overtime to allow more patrols on the roads. Kevin Bechen, impaired driving program manager for ITD’s Office of Highway Safety, said, “It was a busy weekend.” He doesn’t have statewide stats in yet, but said the holidays tend to bring out impaired drivers. The next statewide mobilization, for the Christmas/New Year’s holiday period, starts Dec. 20.
Idaho’s Court of Appeals today overturned a lower-court ruling that blocked a driver’s license suspension for a former Kootenai County court official after a misdemeanor DUI arrest in 2011. The Idaho Transportation Department appealed the decision about the license suspension for Marina Kalani-Keegan, former Kootenai County juvenile drug court coordinator. A hearing officer had ruled that the administrative license suspension was invalid because the arresting officer’s original signature wasn’t on his sworn statement, but it was; ITD sought reconsideration with a statement from a notary that the signature was original, but the hearing officer declined to change the ruling, nor did a district court/Betsy Russell, SR. More here.
Also: She left her juvenile court position in 2005; a subsequent public records lawsuit filed by The Spokesman-Review over flirtatious emails between her and county Prosecutor Bill Douglas led to a landmark Idaho Supreme Court ruling in 2007 that more than 1,000 emails between the two county officials were public records and not exempt from disclosure.
Ronald R. Hebert was hungry the night he was arrested for driving under the influence.
Hebert allegedly hit a car in the parking lot of a Spokane Valley Safeway at 10 p.m. on July 11, according to an affidavit. When police tracked down his car, they found him parked on a landscaped median, eating a taco. His speech was slurred and his eyes were bloodshot.
The front end of Hebert's car was badly damaged, according to the affidavit.
When asked what he was doing, Hebert said he was out to buy a hamburger, according to the affidavit.
Hebert told the officer he’d had four or five beers, according to the affidavit.
OLYMPIA — Like the Senate a day before, the House gave unanimous approval Thursday to tougher penalties for people who drive drunk or under the influence of drugs.
It requires anyone arrested on a second driving under the influence charge be taken to jail, spends more money to speed prosecutions and requires an interlock system be installed on the suspect's car within five days of release. It also sets up a test program for daily testing for alcohol and drugs, plus electronic monitoring of people convicted of multiple drunk driving offenses as an alternative to incarceration.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, passed the House 92-0 after a 46-0 vote in the Senate. Tougher DUI standards was one of the priorities Gov. Jay Inslee had set for the special session of the Legislature.
The proposal would require an automatic arrest for a second offense, and require ignition interlock devices on their vehicles before their cases go to trial. It would require a court appearance within 48 hours and set up a test program for repeat offenders have their sobriety monitored on a daily basis with electronic home monitoring rather than more expensive incarceration.
Sen. Mike Padden,
Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Wells, D-Seattle, argued that judges should be given greater leeway with drivers convicted of impaired driving if they have a doctor's recommendation for medical marijuana. Chemicals from marijuana remain in the blood stream longer than alcohol or many other drugs, and making patients give up their medical marijuana in order to drive was “totally unjust.”
But judges routinely order drunk drivers not to drive if they drink, Padden said, and marijuana should be treated the same way if a person is convicted of impaired driving. “Impaired means impaired,” he said.
Federal officials are now calling for states to lower their blood-alcohol thresholds for drunken driving to .05 percent, down from the current .08, saying the move would help reduce alcohol-related traffic deaths, the AP reports. That .05 standard would be reached by a 120-pound woman after just one drink; or by a 160-pound man after two drinks. “Our goal is to get to zero deaths because each alcohol-impaired death is preventable,” said Deborah Hersman, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board. “Alcohol-impaired deaths are not accidents, they are crimes. They can and should be prevented. The tools exist. What is needed is the will.” You can read the full AP story here.
Idaho lowered its threshold for DUI from .10 to .08 in 1997, the 14th state to make that change. Now, all 50 states have the lower .08 level. Idaho’s standard for drivers of commercial vehicles is .04.
OLYMPIA – Efforts to fast-track a crackdown on repeat drunk drivers, announced with bipartisan fanfare Tuesday, hit some go slow warnings Thursday from prosecutors, judges and cops.
They're raising so many questions that a key committee chairman all but acknowledged Thursday the Legislature might not have a final bill ready by the end of its regular session just nine days away.
“The bill has some significant flaws,” Rep. Roger Goodman, R-Kirkland, the chairman of the House Public Safety Committee, acknowledged during a hearing on House Bill 2030. “We’re not going to jam this bill through.”
To read the rest of this item, or to comment, go inside the blog.
A holiday season crackdown on drunken driving led to 219 arrests across Spokane, Pend Oreille and Ferry counties.
That’s up from 197 arrests during the same period a year earlier, according to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. The increase is attributed to the first-ever “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement effort from Nov. 21 to Jan. 1 targeting drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Statewide, 3,446 motorists were arrested during the crackdown.
Participating in the Eastern Washington crackdown were the following law enforcement agencies: Cheney, Airway Heights, Eastern Washington University, Republic, Spokane and Spokane Valley police departments; the Spokane, Pend Oreille and Ferry County sheriff’s offices; and the Washington State Patrol, with the support of the Spokane County Target Zero Task Force.
The extra patrols were funded by a grant from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.
“I'm swearing off alcohol and I am not going to continue to drink,” Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo told reporters today in a conference call after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drunken driving charge in Alexandria, Va. Crapo said he believes public officials should be held to higher standards, the AP reported, and he believes his constituents are disappointed by his conduct. But he said he doesn't think the arrest will derail his political career, and he hopes that by giving a full explanation of the circumstances, he can regain the public trust.
“I fully intend to continue to try to make a contribution in the United States Senate,” Crapo said, adding that he expects to run for the office again in 2016.
He said he'll walk to work, take a taxi or make other transportation arrangements while his license is suspended over the next year, the AP reported. As long as he remains on good behavior, Crapo won't have to serve a 180-day suspended jail sentence. In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors dropped a charge of failing to obey a traffic signal; click below for a full report from AP reporters Rebecca Boone in Boise and Matthew Barakat in Alexandria, Va.
Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo pleaded guilty to a charge of driving while intoxicated in Alexandria, Va. today, and apologized for his actions. Crapo was ordered to pay a $250 fine, complete and alcohol safety program and have his driver's license suspended for 12 months. Click below for a full report from the Associated Press. Outside the courtroom, Crapo said he had been drinking vodka and tonic at his Washington home on the night of Dec. 22, became restless, couldn't sleep and went out for a drive. He had been driving for about 30 minutes when he realized he was in no condition to drive and started to return home, he said. It was then that he ran a red light and was pulled over in the D.C. suburb of Alexandria, in the early morning hours of Dec. 23.
“I am grateful, truly grateful, that no one was injured,” Crapo said. He said he has, in the past year or so, been drinking alcohol on occasion, in violation of his LDS religious beliefs; he apologized for that as well, and said he'll “carry through on appropriate measures for forgiveness and repentance in my church.”
Though Idaho's senior senator likely will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in his car after his Virginia DUI arrest, that wouldn’t have been the case in his home state of Idaho. Idaho doesn't require the devices for first-time DUI offenders, but there’s a growing chorus of groups saying it should. Seventeen states, including Washington and Virginia, require the devices to prevent even first-time convicted drunken drivers from starting up their cars while under the influence. But Idaho requires the devices only for repeat offenders.
When Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo was stopped for suspected drunken driving in Virginia on Dec. 23 after running a red light, he registered a 0.11 blood-alcohol level at the scene, and a higher, 0.14 level in a test taken later at the Alexandria, Va. jail. Crapo, a first-time offender who was known as a teetotaler due to his Mormon faith, has said he doesn’t plan to contest the charges; his court date is Friday. Virginia law likely will require him to get an interlock device to drive, which prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver’s breath reveals the presence of alcohol.
Last month, the National Transportation Safety Board called for all states to require the devices for first-time drunken driving offenders, and sent letters to states including Idaho asking for their response within 90 days. “It’s time for the other 33 states to step up for safety and require ignition interlocks for all offenders,” said Deborah Hersman, NTSB chairwoman. An ITD spokesman said the NTSB letter is under review; meanwhile, groups including the AAA of Idaho and Mothers Against Drunk Driving have come out for a tougher, all-offenders interlock law. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
The Associated Press reports that a second blood-alcohol test conducted on Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo about an hour after his Dec. 23 drunken driving arrest registered 0.14, well above the original roadside test result of 0.11, and the higher reading is the one that will be used in court. It is 1/100 of a percentage point below the level that would have mandated jail time under Virginia law. Meanwhile, Crapo's office said the senator doesn't plan to contest the charges; click below for the full AP report.
The Washington Post’s “Crime Scene” blog reports that when Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo was stopped early Sunday morning for running a red light and arrested for DUI, he told the police officer who pulled him over that he had “consumed several shots of vodka,” according to court documents detailing the arrest. Reporter Allison Klein writes that the documents show Crapo said he drank the vodka hours earlier and hadn’t had anything to drink since. You can read her full report here. Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that Crapo returned to Washington, D.C. yesterday to participate in negotiations over averting the looming fiscal cliff, and had no comment on the arrest, in which he had a 0.11 blood-alcohol level. The AP reported that the senator’s spokesman said he’ll provide more information about the arrest within the next several days; he has a Jan. 4 court date.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Michael Crapo was arrested early Sunday morning and charged with driving under the influence in a Washington, D.C., suburb, authorities said. Police in Alexandria, Va., said Sunday that the Idaho Republican was pulled over after his vehicle ran a red light; his booking photo is at right. Police spokesman Jody Donaldson said Crapo failed field sobriety tests and was arrested at about 12:45 a.m. He was transported to the Alexandria jail and released on an unsecured $1,000 bond at about 5 a.m. “There was no refusal (to take blood alcohol tests), no accident, no injuries,” Donaldson said. “Just a traffic stop that resulted in a DUI.”
Police said Crapo, who was alone in his vehicle, registered a blood alcohol content of .110. The legal limit in Virginia, which has strict drunken driving laws, is .08. The 61-year-old Crapo has a Jan. 4 court date. “I am deeply sorry for the actions that resulted in this circumstance,” Crapo said in a statement Sunday night. “I made a mistake for which I apologize to my family, my Idaho constituents and any others who have put their trust in me. I accept total responsibility and will deal with whatever penalty comes my way in this matter. I will also undertake measures to ensure that this circumstance is never repeated.” Click below for the full AP report.
An alleged drunk driver was arrested early Friday morning after driving the wrong way on Division and speeding away from authorities, according to a Washington State Patrol news release.
The trooper tried to pull over the driver, identified as Ian S. Hill, 26, around midnight, but Hill sped away into a parking lot near Boone Avenue and Washington Street, the news release said. The flight made Hill’s truck spin off the roadway onto Atlantic Street and hit a sign.
Hill reportedly drove through another parking lot and into an alleyway where he crashed into a concrete wall and then a neighboring building, according to the news release.
Hill was not injured during the crash and neither was his passenger. He was arrested and booked into Spokane County Jail driving under the influence and hit and run charges.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: CALDWELL, Idaho (AP) ― A state judge who is facing a drunken driving charge says she will retire effective Jan. 4. The Idaho Press-Tribune reports 3rd District Judge Renae Hoff has announced her retirement. Seven candidates have submitted applications for the vacant position. Applications are being taken until Nov. 9 by the Idaho Judicial Council. Hoff was arrested and charged with misdemeanor DUI on Aug. 25. She was removed from presiding over criminal cases until her DUI charge is resolved. She pleaded not guilty and her trial is set for Dec. 4. The judicial council is scheduled to meet at the Canyon County Courthouse Dec. 6 to interview the candidates.
Update: Huckleberries has been told that Judge Hoff announced resignation shortly after DUI. Nominations to fill her $114,300 position are being accepted through Monday.
Third District Judge Renae Hoff nearly fell as she stepped from her vehicle after an officer stopped her for reportedly weaving on the road Aug. 25, according to a Meridian police report. Hoff’s blood alcohol content on the night of her DUI arrest was .116, the Idaho Press-Tribune has learned. The legal limit in Idaho is .08. Hoff was removed from presiding over criminal cases after her arrest until her DUI is resolved. She pleaded not guilty last month and her jury trial is set for Dec. 4. The Meridian Police Department report on Hoff’s arrest says that she had “glassy bloodshot eyes and the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from her” when she was stopped at about 1:21 a.m. near Ten Mile Road and Acarrera Court in Meridian/Mike Butts, Idaho Press Tribune. More here. (Police mug shot of Judge Hoff courtesy of Idaho Press Tribune)
Question: If Judge Hoff is found guilty of DUI, should she be forced to step down from the bench?
The court hearing was postponed Wednesday for Ryan Crocker, former ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan, who was charged last month with DUI and leaving the scene of an accident.
Crocker did not appear before Spokane County District Judge Sara Derr. But his attorney, Julie Twyford, did appear. She said the judge agreed to move the hearing to Oct. 10 at 1:30 p.m.
Crocker, 63, was charged Aug. 14 following a crash with a semi-truck at a busy Spokane Valley intersection. He reportedly drove away from the crash and was followed by a witness who alerted Washington State Patrol troopers.
The Spokane Valley native retired from the U.S. State Department in July, citing health reasons and left the Afghanistan capital of Kabul at a period of transition as the United States prepares to withdraw most of its troops from the country by the end of 2014. He also oversaw the reconstruction of war-torn Iraq.
Read previous coverage of the crash that resulted in his DUI charges here.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― An Ada County judge has ordered a mental health evaluation for a 55-year-old Boise man who was recently convicted of his 14th DUI. Terry Ash was to be sentenced Wednesday after a June conviction for driving under the influence last September and for being a persistent offender. Prosecutor Shelly Armstrong recommended that Ash be sentenced to 20 years to life, but Ash's attorney asked for a mental evaluation for his client, citing a history of psychological programs, poverty and other extenuating circumstances. The evaluation is set for Oct. 17 at the Ada County jail. Armstrong says Ash's DUI convictions date back to 1971.
SPOKANE, Wash. - Ambassador Ryan Crocker, one of the most decorated State Department diplomats in the last half century, was arrested on August 14 by the Washington State Patrol for hit-and-run, DUI in Spokane Valley.
A Spokane native who lives in Spokane, Crocker, 63, was arrested at the intersection of Sprague Ave. and Pines Road at 2:05 p.m. on August 14 by a WSP trooper after Crocker reportedly hit a car while driving a 2009 Ford Mustang convertible. The driver of the other car was uninjured. More here.
The Spokane Police Department provided this photo of the crash on the SPD Facebook page.
A 21-year-old Spokane man was arrested for vehicular assault after crashing his truck head-on into a semi truck on Thursday and injuring his passenger.
Joseph A. Hussey's blood-alcohol level registered at .224 before he was jailed on a vehicular assault charge for the crash in the 3900 block of East Broadway Avenue, according to the Spokane Police Department.
The legal limit for driving is .08.
Police say he smelled of intoxicants and told them he was going to home to Spokane Valley from the Satellite bar downtown.
Hussey also slurred his speech and failed field sobriety tests, police say.
He was booked into the Spokane County Jail on the felony charge.
A recalcitrant drunken driver must pay $68 to replace pants that a Boise police officer ripped during a foot chase, the AP reports, but the Idaho Court of Appeals ruled the man doesn't have to fork over another $1,089 for damage to a patrol car that hit and killed his dog during the 2010 incident, for which he pleaded guilty and was sent to prison for up to 15 years. Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller; you can read the Court of Appeals decision here.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) ― Fifth District Magistrate Judge Nicole Cannon has resigned two months after being charged with excessive driving under the influence in Boise. Cannon's resignation was announced Friday in a statement released by 5th District Trial Court administrator Linda Wright. The resignation was effective immediately. She had served on the bench for 15 months. Cannon's resignation announcement made no mention of the DUI charge filed in April. Court records say her blood-alcohol level tested at 0.239 percent and 0.221 percent. A judge denied requests by Cannon's defense attorney to have the traffic stop deemed unreasonable and to throw out the breath tests. Cannon has pleaded not guilty and her trial is set to start on Aug. 28. Wright says recruitment for Cannon's replacement would start Monday.
A Montana man faces a felony charge of driving under the influence after authorities say a state trooper clocked him driving 134 mph in a 50 mph zone. The Billings Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/KCdsRz ) 32-year-old Shaun Kachina Bell of Billings made an initial appearance in Justice Court Monday on the DUI charge, along with felony criminal endangerment and misdemeanor counts of speeding and driving without a license or proof of insurance. His bail was set at $15,000. Prosecutors allege Bell was speeding in a Dodge Magnum late Sunday on Highway 312 outside Billings/Associated Press. More here.
Question: How fast is the fastest you've ever driven? Where? Why?
A chronic drunken driving suspect who badly injured a sheriff's deputy in a crash about 10 years ago has been sentenced to two years in prison on drug charges.
James Lee Crabtree, 51, is in the Spokane County Jail awaiting transport to prison after being sentenced to 24 months for possession of a controlled substance and delivery of a controlled substance.
He was sentenced last month to a year in jail and two years probation for a felony DUI charge.
Crabtree was a Spokane County sheriff's deputy in the 1980s. He went to prison for vehicular assault in 2003 and was arrested in November 2011 on suspicion of drunken driving after motorists noticed him passing out at the wheel of his car.
Police found an open can of Four Loko in the car, but his blood-alcohol level was under the legal limit for driving, and he was never charged. His current convictons stems from drunken driving and meth arrests in April and July.
In January, Crabtree was assaulted in a home-invasion robbery in which two assailants demanded “dope and money,” according to court documents.