SPOKANE, Wash. - A Spokane teen drove herself into some serious trouble early Tuesday morning when she rear ended a Spokane Police car at a Division Street stop light.
Savannah Ashby, 18, was arrested on drug and DUI charges and appeared before a Superior Court judge Tuesday afternoon.
Police say they were waiting at the stoplight at Wellesley Avenue and Division Street when Ashby plowed into the back of their patrol car. No one was seriously hurt and the teen made her troubles worse by allegedly possessing methamphetamine.
"The state believes driving under the influence of either drugs of alcohol is very dangerous to the public, dangerous to herself and also dangerous to law enforcement," deputy prosecutor Mary Dorn said.
Ashby's arrest comes at a time when the Washington State Patrol is cracking down on DUI's and making them stick in court by getting blood draws. If drivers refuse a breath test troopers are waking up a judge, getting a warrant and then having paramedics from American Medical Response draw blood samples. AMR is collecting the evidence at no charge to the state and keeps drivers from dodging a DUI conviction by refusing to take blood alcohol tests.
"It's a conscious decision to go out and drink and drive. You know when you go out of an establishment and you have a few drinks with your friends or family and you decide to get in the car that is a decision you make and it affects everybody's life," State Trooper Doug Jacobs said.
There are six troopers in the Spokane area who are dedicated to DUI enforcements and lead the state in DUI arrests. The state patrol sets up specific locations for DUI enforcement based in part on collision reports as well as looking at information from the Washington State Liquor Control Board as to which bars have been charged with over serving customers.
They are also working to make it easier for people to make smart decisions about drinking and driving by asking the Spokane City Council to establish more taxi parking around bars on Division Street.
"I think it would help a lot because if there were more spots for taxis to park people wouldn't have to wait. They could just step out of the bar and be on their way," Travis James with Arrow Taxi said.
Troopers say a lot of people want to make the right decision about not driving after drinking but if they can't find a taxi during that wait their lowered inhibition overwhelms their common sense and they get behind the wheel.