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Charles H. Williams,
Attorney and Counselor
at Law, P.S.
707 South Snoqualmie
Suite 4A
Seattle, WA 98108

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Washington man hits cop car during brush fire, police allege DUI

What if a car accident happens for reasons beyond a driver's control, but the driver still ends up being charged with DUI? That question may be on the mind of one man from Washington state whose pickup truck collided with a police car that was stopped to help firefighters extinguish a brush fire.

Police claim the 58-year-old pickup driver was drunk when he crashed into the back of a patrol car. According to the Washington State Patrol, the driver was traveling on Interstate 182 when he came upon a group of firefighters battling a brush fire.

A police officer who had stopped to help was injured, and the collision was said to have caused about $3,500 in damage to the police cruiser. The man now accused of drunk driving was also injured, though he refused treatment at the scene. A news story did not indicate whether his breath was tested for alcohol at the time of the crash.

Interestingly, about 30 minutes after the collision, there was a three-car pile-up behind the first crash site where the arrest was made. No injuries resulted from the second crash, but the proximity of the accidents could suggest that road conditions were more to blame than the alleged intoxication of the pickup driver.

Additionally, being injured in a car accident can be disorienting, and police have been known to mistake this disorientation for intoxication. Not everyone who is accused of DUI is guilty, and Seattle-area residents who have been accused of drunken driving should do what is legally in their power to fight the allegations.

Source: Tri-City Herald, "Update: Suspected DUI driver hit Richland patrol car on I-182," Paula Horton, Sept. 9, 2012

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