LONG BEACH - A story in last week's Chinook Observer may have given an incorrect impression of what charges were filed against Deena Blaylock, who allegedly drove a van up over the sidewalk of Pacific Avenue and into the Long Beach Subway restaurant on Oct. 19.
The story described her as a drunk driver, but she was not arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated, but rather with leaving the scene of an accident (also known as hit and run) and obstructing a public servant.
According to the police report, Long Beach Police Officer Rick Houston was dispatched to the crash scene at around 2:11 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 19, where he found the accident scene but no driver.
Blaylock was located at her mother's house a few minutes later after her mother phoned dispatch to report that her daughter was injured at her home. Paramedics examined Blaylock and advised her to go the hospital for evaluation by a doctor, which Blaylock refused at first, saying she was fine. In his report, Houston said it was at this time that Blaylock started giving information about the accident.
"Blaylock kept saying that someone was driving the car and left the scene," the report said. "I asked Blaylock who was driving the car, and she said, 'I'm not going to get anyone else in trouble, I'm not telling you.'"
Houston said Blaylock did eventually agree to go to the hospital, where Houston had the opportunity to speak with Blaylock briefly several times.
"Blaylock told me different versions of her story," his report reads. "Blaylock told me she left the scene and then returned to remove her vehicle to her mother's. She said that she didn't feel that the vehicle had much damage."
After being released by the hospital, Houston tried to continue his investigation with Blaylock, at one point having to wait for another Long Beach Police Officer and a Washington State Trooper to arrive.
"Blaylock was becoming upset at having to wait for the officers," the report reads. "She told me that she doesn't drink anymore after she had a DUI in 1997.
"Blaylock was questioned several times about driving the car, and she insisted that she was the passenger."
But physical evidence at the accident scene led Houston to conclude there was probable cause to arrest Blaylock. At 4:50 a.m. she was read her rights and placed under arrest and taken to the Pacific County jail.
In his report, Houston noted that Blaylock exhibited signs of having consumed alcohol that night, stating she had, "intoxicants on her breath." He went on to say that, "Deena admitted to consuming intoxicating liquors earlier in the evening."
At 5:00 a.m., 10 minutes after she was arrested, and three hours after the accident occurred, Houston noted that, "Blaylock still had the distinct odor of alcohol on her breath. Blaylock still had puffy red eyes, but her words were no longer slurred," he said. "I felt that most of the effects of the alcohol had worn off [by that time]."
He also noted that "due to the time frame, no BAC [blood-alcohol content test] was done."
Blaylock called the Chinook Observer office Wednesday to voice her disagreement about the term "drunk driver" in the article and to state that she has full coverage insurance that will cover all damage to the Subway building, as well as any money lost from being closed for four days as repairs took place.
"All I'm saying is that I was not charged with any drinking violations," Blaylock said.