SPOKANE, Wash. - The woman behind the wheel of Spokane's first fatal crash of 2017 will have to raise a small fortune before she can get out of jail, and even then, she won't be driving.
Washington State Patrol (WSP) troopers say Melissa A. Paul was impaired when she slammed into a cyclist on Highway 2 near Flint Road on New Year's Day.
The collision killed Ty Olds at the scene after he was tossed into the Toyota 4 Runner's windshield.
Highway 2 is already busy, but adding drugs and alcohol to the equation, like Paul allegedly did, makes things even more dangerous.
Airway Heights is trying to make Highway 2 safer for both pedestrians and cyclists with better overhead lighting and well-marked crosswalks; however, because of the growth in the area including the casino, drivers can still encounter cyclists and pedestrians.
To make matters even worse, Paul was allegedly impaired when she tried negotiate the highway in the middle of the night in the middle of a snowstorm.
Little did Paul know, Olds was trying to do the same thing, pedaling along the shoulder without any lights or reflectors on his bike.
The collision smashed out Paul's windshield and killed Olds instantly
“Subsequent investigation by troopers on scene, that person was believed to be impaired and was booked into the Spokane County Jail for vehicular homicide,” said WSP Trooper Jeff Sevigney.
As they investigated the crash scene, troopers found someone had ditched baggies of meth and cocaine in front of Paul's car. So, troopers backed up their dash cam video and found passenger Stephan Goodwin had been standing by the front bumper.
Goodwin was cut by glass from the broken windshield. When troopers saw Goodwin's blood on the baggies, he went to jail as well on a drug charge.
“Our mission is to gather all the facts so we can paint a clear and accurate picture, to the best of our ability, [of what] occurred that night,” said Trooper Sevigney.
Paul blew 0.6 on a portable breathalyzer, and because of the possibility she was also impaired by meth or coke, prosecutors asked for a $1,000,000 bond.
Her attorney said right now there is not evidence Paul was illegally impaired, and because Paul has no criminal history, deserved little or no bond.
Judge Michael Price thought $1,000,000 was too much for the the circumstances, given that Paul has no criminal history; however, Price also took the unusual precaution of telling her, whether she has a license or not, she is not allowed to drive again without the court's permission. Paul's bond was set at $150,000.
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