A Wallowa County man discovered that drinking light beer and taking a hike through the woods won’t help avoid a DUI.
Kenneth Moore, 42, Lostine, pleaded guilty to DUI and reckless driving in Wallowa County Circuit Court Nov. 15.
A charge of criminal driving while suspended was dismissed. It was Moore’s sixth DUI offense, which includes a diversion program.
According to court testimony and documents, on Aug. 11 the Wallowa County Sheriff’s Office received numerous calls reporting a one-vehicle rollover accident around 6:11 p.m.
When Oregon State Police trooper Jason Henry arrived on the scene, he noted a westbound truck lying on the driver’s side in the ditch. A number of unopened beer cans were in the truck bed as well as scattered about the scene. He also observed three blood spots on the hood.
Witnesses reported that the truck was westbound and also identified Moore as the owner and operator of the vehicle. The witnesses said that he was last seen crossing the highway on the south side and headed to the timber line on adjacent property. A member of Wallowa County Search and Rescue and his tracking K-9 began a search to the south, across the river.
Moore was located at 8:46 p.m. about a mile from the crash in a woodsy area near the railroad tracks. When Henry accosted Moore, the trooper noticed the smell of alcohol. He admitted to Henry he had been drinking and was the driver of the wrecked vehicle. The trooper recited Henry’s Miranda rights before placing him in handcuffs.
After arriving at the county’s justice center, Moore told Henry that he previously had his license suspended. He also turned in a poor performance on field sobriety tests.
A subsequent breath test indicated Moore’s blood alcohol level at .21. He had told officers that he had consumed four or six cans of beer before getting behind the wheel. Moore spent the next four days in jail.
Wallowa County Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Frolander recommended 20 days in jail for Moore and noted his record. She also said that if the jail time would affect Moore’s employment, he could serve the time on the county’s work crew.
Before sentencing, Moore told Judge Thomas Powers he wanted to get the issue resolved as well as get treatment for his alcohol abuse.
On the DUI, Powers suspended the imposition of the jail sentence and also sentenced Moore to treatment court, which is a problem-solving division that provides court-directed supervision and mandated treatment to nonviolent criminals with substance use or mental health issues. The defendant also received two years of supervised probation and a $1000 fine.
On the reckless driving charge, Powers meted out concurrent probation and a $200 fine.