Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sirens & Gavels

Man faces felony for Four Loko incident

A 49-year-old man who injured a sheriff's deputy in a drunken crash nine years ago has been charged with felony driving under the influence for an incident last week in Spokane Valley, officials announced today.

 James L. Crabtree, a local real estate agent who worked as a Spokane County Sheriff’s deputy in the 1980s, was arrested last week after other motorists block his vehicle at East Broadway Avenue and North Pines Road and told officials he appeared to be passed out at the wheel.

A Spokane County sheriff’s deputy smelled alcohol on Crabtree’s breath and found an open container of Four Loko in his car, the caffeinated alcoholic beverage now banned in Washington. Crabtree also allegedly had the prescription pill Clonazepam in his pocket.

He left jail on $3,500 bail after appearing in Superior Court Thursday on a drug possession charge.

Crabtree acknowledged he had drunk two beers and had a blood-alcohol level of .065, according to court documents. The legal limit for driving is .08. Crabtree received deferred prosecution for a DUI in 1997, then was sentenced to five years in prison in 2003 for vehicular assault after a drunken crash that nearly killed Earl Howerton of the Sheriff’s Office.

He was again convicted of drunken driving in 2007. Washington law allows for drunken driving suspects with prior convictions for vehicular homicide or vehicular assault while under the influence to be charged with a felony. Crabtree is to be arraigned Nov. 30.

Public safety news from the Inland Northwest and beyond.