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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Troopers suspect 15-year-old driver in grisly car crash was intoxicated

Based on alcohol bottles at the scene and the smell of intoxicants on one boy, Washington State Patrol troopers are investigating the young driver in a gruesome car crash for vehicular assault.

Around 3:40 a.m. on Oct. 10, troopers arrived at the scene of a car accident on State Route 291 near mile marker 16. A car was wrapped around a tree with two occupants trapped inside. Responders had called in Life Flight, according to court documents.

The damage to the vehicle was so bad, it was hard for responders to tell which seat had been which. Alcohol bottles were spread around the vehicle, where firefighters had thrown them as they tried to pull the boys out of the car, the documents say.

One boy, the 15-year-old suspected driver, was pinned under the steering wheel with a broken femur. Another boy, eventually determined to be in the passenger side front seat, had broken legs and a lung puncture.

A man at the scene told a trooper that one of the car’s occupants was across the road trying to leave the scene. The trooper saw the teen boy had cuts and scrapes and was bleeding from his ear. Doctors later found he had a small brain bleed that was not life- threatening. The trooper said he smelled the “strong and obvious odor of intoxicants,” the documents say.

The trooper arrested the boy as the possible driver after the juvenile had run away down the highway and tripped over a log, the trooper wrote. Troopers now believe he was a passenger in the back seat.

Troopers suspect the boy pinned below the steering wheel was the driver. A judge has signed off on a search warrant to test his blood for alcohol and drugs.

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