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

Deputies respond to back-to-back DUI incidents on Bigelow Gulch Road

A man was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence Monday evening after crashing his pickup truck into a ditch along Bigelow Gulch Road.

When the vehicle was removed and the road reopened, sheriff’s deputies learned of a second intoxicated driver who was unconscious in a car sitting 100 yards down the road.

The first incident was reported shortly before 6 p.m., according to a news release from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. Responding deputies found William D. Eklund, 65, inside his Ford F-350, which was stuck in a ditch along Bigelow Gulch Road near Palmer Road.

Eklund told deputies that his four-wheel drive had been switching on and off, and that he must have hit a patch of ice, losing control of his truck, the sheriff’s office said. Deputies reported he “showed a lack of dexterity, could not follow instructions, had slurred speech and lacked enough balance to stand or walk without assistance.”

Eklund said he had taken some prescribed medications but initially denied he had consumed alcohol, though deputies reported smelling alcohol, the sheriff’s office said.

Bigelow Gulch was closed or restricted to one lane for about an hour and a half while deputies investigated the crash and Eklund’s vehicle was removed, the sheriff’s office said. He faces a DUI charge and received two traffic citations.

When the road reopened, a passing driver informed the deputies that a small white car was stopped in the middle of the road about 100 yards west of the pickup truck crash, the sheriff’s office said. The car was running and its lights were on, but it didn’t move when traffic started flowing again.

Deputies found the car and realized the driver, 26-year-old Tatiana R. Perez, was unconscious. A deputy noted she was breathing and had a pulse, but she didn’t respond when he knocked on her window. Her foot was on the brake, the gear shifter was placed in neutral and there was a mostly empty liquor bottle sitting in the passenger seat, the sheriff’s office said.

Perez was taken to the hospital, where a deputy obtained a warrant for a sample of her blood, the sheriff’s office said. She was later booked into jail for alleged DUI.