A Spokane school board member allegedly driving drunk in late June clipped a bicyclist and fled the scene briefly before hitting two street signs and crashing his car into a power pole, according to court records.
Paul Schneider, 42, was jailed for the June 21 crash after a brief stay in the hospital. He was released the next day and pleaded not guilty. He is charged with vehicular assault, two counts of failure to remain at the scene of an accident and DUI.
Just after 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 21, Schneider attempted to pass a vehicle on the right while driving south along Rockwood Boulevard. While doing so, he hit a bicyclist traveling in the bike lane, according to records.
Schneider did not stop to render aid. He continued to drive along Rockwood Boulevard, eventually turning south onto Southeast Boulevard. He then crossed the middle median, hit two street signs and plowed into a power pole, knocking down power lines.
Schneider declined to comment on his arrest.
The bicyclist was left with cuts and bruising on his left hip, back, lower left leg, left elbow, right knee and left hand, according to court documents.
A witness said she saw Schneider drive through the intersection of Rockwood and Southeast going about 30 mph.
A physician who happened upon the crash while driving told The Spokesman-Review on Thursday that “the smell of alcohol was as heavy as I ever smelled.”
Schneider was passed out in the driver seat, the physician said, adding that some people were concerned enough that they wanted to perform CPR.
There were alcohol containers inside the red Kia Sedona, according to police. Schneider was taken to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, according to Trooper Jeff Sevigny, a spokesman for the Washington State Patrol. After being released from the hospital, Schneider was booked into the Spokane County Jail at 12:51 a.m. June 22.
When an officer asked Schneider how much alcohol he had consumed that evening, Schneider refused to answer, according to court documents.
Police took a sample of Schneider’s blood to test his blood-alcohol level, Sevigny said. They are awaiting results.
Earlier in the evening, police say Schneider hit a GMC pickup truck parked at the Spokane Public Schools administrative offices at 200 N. Bernard St. He fled, rather than reporting the collision, according to court documents.
A school district security officer told the owner of the truck that they saw a maroon van – matching the description of Schneider’s vehicle – hit his truck and flee.
The school board of directors met on the evening of June 21 starting at 5:30 p.m., according to a meeting notice.
School board President Deana Brower said Schneider did not attend the meeting. District spokesman Kevin Morrison said he “did not see Paul Schneider that evening.”
On the same evening Schneider apparently hit the bicyclist on Rockwood, the annual Spokane Summer Parkways was underway between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Families from across the South Hill ride their bicycles and walk on streets temporarily cleared of vehicles along a route in the Manito and Comstock neighborhoods.
Schneider also was absent for a vote during a June 28 regular board meeting on whether to move sixth-graders into middle school.
Schneider was elected to the board in 2015 and is a teacher at University High School in the Central Valley School District.
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