Cerrissa Christensen Charged with Felonies – BAC 0.25

By Garth O'Brien | October 16, 2007 
Filed Under DUI News

Seattle, Washington – October 16, 2007. Cerrissa Christensen, 27, was the woman driving on the wrong way while traveling on Interstate 5. Cerrissa’s vehicle collided head on into Eric Hillstrom’s truck. Eric was severely injured and is “hanging by a thread.” receiving medical attention at Harborview Medical Center. Eric’s passenger and girlfriend, Bawny McQuistin was killed and pronounce deceased at the scene of the accident.

Washington State requires blood draws in fatality auto accidents. Cerrissa’s blood test result is a shocking 0.25. Washington State’s legal limit is 0.08. As suspected, the King County Prosecutors filed vehicular homicide and vehicular assault charges against Cerrissa. Both are felony criminal charges. Given Cerrissa’s prior DUI conviction in 2002, Cerrissa should be looking at some prison time.

However, Cerrissa will not see as much prison time as she deserves. The sentencing ranges for vehicular homicide and vehicular assault are insulting to the lives taken away. Damian Mackay recently entered a guilty plea to vehicular homicide in Whatcom County, and he received the maximum penalty of 4.5 years in prison. Four and half years is hardly justice for Steven Rhone and Steven’s family that will never have the chance to see Steven again.

I say it with every similar post. If every vehicle in the United States had an alcohol detection device attached to the ignition this incident would have been prevented. Cerrissa would not have been able to start her vehicle. Bawny would be able to hug her parents today, and Eric would not be fighting for his life at the intensive-care unit of Harborview.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Bawny’s and Eric’s family and friends. Eric, keep fighting and do not stop until you walk out of Harborview.

DUI Blog Comments

8 Responses to “Cerrissa Christensen Charged with Felonies – BAC 0.25”

  1. KCActivist on October 17th, 2007 2:03 pm

    Cerrissa Christensen will be looking at some prison time but never enough. My son was killed by a drunk who was charged with Veh.Hom and Veh.Assault in 2005. It was a first offense and the killer was sentenced to 34 months. Because our Legislature does not recognize DUI Veh Hom as a SERIOUS violent crime, the offender was released to community custody after serving 17 months. There was a very similar crash to this one in 2005 where a wrong way drunk on I-5 killed Heather Meadows and seriously injured her passenger. The offender had priors and was sentenced to 8 years. I and others want to be in that courtroom when Christensen makes her appearance. Our prayers to Bawny and Erick’s family.

  2. Garth O'Brien on October 18th, 2007 6:31 am


    I completely agree. Lawmakers need to wake up and correct this injustice. However, it is an issue about money. 47,000 DUI arrests annually increases jail costs. Now throw a small slice of those into prison with the new felony DUI law. The prison budget goes up and adds to “overcrowding.”

    We have no problem sending a homeless man to prison for a long time on a second offense of cocaine possession, but balk at imposing deserving jail terms for impaired drivers that take lives.

    Here is the simple and nearly absolute solution:

    Require all vehicle driven on US roadways to be equipped with alcohol detection devices. If a drive has alcohol in his or her system, then the automobile does not start. Those that circumvent that process to drive with alcohol in their system have INTENTIONALLY driven with alcohol in their system. Make that a new DUI crime with insane penalties. First conviction of that new DUI would require a minimum of 5 years in prison.

    A tough sentence to swallow for a few beers, but you can nearly say goodbye to DUI and alcohol related death and injuries resulting from impaired drivers.

    Also, if you would like to post your son’s story and how that loss impacted your family please contact me and I would be more than happy to provide you a forum to express yourself. Keep up the fight and I am sorry to hear about your son.

    I can be reached by filling out the contact form here < http://www.seattle-duiattorney.com/contact1.php >.

    Garth O’Brien

  3. Reason #245 of why you should never drink & drive. - MX6.com on October 26th, 2007 5:20 am

    […] years. I bet that would curtail alot of this drunk driving bullisht A case like this one here in Seattle is a perfect […]

  4. Sinisa M on October 27th, 2007 12:23 am

    Hi Garth

    My name is Sinisa Mihailovici and I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. A few weeks ago, on September 6, 2007, I have lost four of my best friends in a horrible car accident, in Italy. It was because of drunk driving… I can’t think straight from that day, especially since I was suppose to be there, in vacation, as well. I really want to change something. I tried to create something to create awareness of these kind of tragedies. The feeling is indescribable and I know there are a lot of people out there who are still stubborn to drive while drunk.
    I am a film student here in Edmonton and I produced a short movie (50 seconds) that i want to share with everybody. That’s why I am very glad I came across your blog! It’s painful that we really have to experience it first in order to stop it…

    If you have a couple of minutes please take a look at it. If you like it and think that is interesting enough for your viewers feel free to post it on your blog up for a discussion (maybe as a topic idea), I would really like to know people’s opinion. If you don’t like it I apologize for taking you the time to read my message.
    Regardless of your answer – thank you and I will see you on your blog!

    There is my movie:

    Thanks a lot.
    Looking forward to your answer,

    P.S. in order to post the movie by itself on your blog, use the blue “embed” button on the right on the movie screen (you will copy it and paste the embeded code). It is a good idea, because your blog’s name will appear underneath the movie screen as well – where it is said: “Recently featured on:”. It will increase your blog’s views as well..

  5. Death Doesn’t Knock At The Door… - By Sinisa Mihailovici | Washington State DUI Blog on October 27th, 2007 7:18 am

    […] Cerrissa Christensen Charged with Felonies – BAC 0.25 […]

  6. Personal Injury Lawsuit Loans on March 12th, 2008 12:32 am

    There’s a lot of money to be made in the jail system. It’s in a lot of powerful individual’s interest to keep the inefficient justice system going the way it is. Hence, the problems discussed here, the war on drugs, etc. While I agree with justice for DUI offenders, I dont think the current system is handling the problem.

  7. Melissa Smith on April 23rd, 2008 2:55 pm

    I think it is sickening to see this happening. She is only going to be sentenced to 72 months in jail. She killed Bawny and now she is only going to serve a few years. If she had stabbed her with a knife or beat her to death this wouldn’t be the case. Your car is a weapon and it should be treated that way.

  8. Torornto personal injury on December 28th, 2008 10:58 pm

    Your vehicle is your weapon and its up to you that how you used it? If you will be the cause of damages for others, you will be punished.