By Garth O'Brien | October 14, 2007
Filed Under DUI News
Tukwila, Washington – October 9, 2007. Cerrissa Christensen received her first DUI arrest on December 17, 2002. Cerrissa entered into a deferred prosecution on this first brush with the law. The DUI deferred is a unique program offered in Washington State. The defendant must complete 2 years of alcohol treatment and abide by various lifestyle restrictions over the course of five years. Upon successful completion the DUI charge is dismissed. If the defendant fails to comply with the terms of the DP program the defendant is guilty of DUI and a sentence is imposed. Cerrissa failed to complete her deferred. She tested positive for marijuana while in treatment.
On October 9 Cerrissa was driving the wrong way on Interstate 5 around 1:15 a.m. Cerrissa slammed into an oncoming truck head-on. The truck’s passenger, Bawny McQuistin, 18, died instantly and the driver, Eric Hillstrom, 19, suffered severe injuries. Christensen suffered a broken ankle and is receiving medical treatment at Harboview Medical Center. When she is healthy enough Cerrissa will be transferred to the King County Jail.
David Sisk, of Burlington, vents his frustrations on The Seattle Times website. I understand his contempt for our system, but disagree with a few of his points. The title of his article, “Why was a woman with a DUI record driving on Interstate 5?” begs the question should any person convicted of DUI be allowed to drive at all? Cerrissa received her first DUI in 2002; five year ago. She received at least the mandatory minimums with her failed deferred prosecution. Hardly getting off.
Mr. Sisk is angered that Cerrissa will not face a felony DUI charge until she is arrested at least 3 more times. This is true is Cerrissa only commits the crime of DUI. However, a death of one person and severe injury to another does not constitute DUI. Cerrissa will be charged with Vehicular Homicide and Vehicular Assault. Both crimes are felonies.
If Cerrissa were wise she would hire an experienced defense attorney that concentrates in the area of Vehicular Homicide and Assault. Mr. Sisk purposes hiring an experienced defense lawyer will allow her to “get off.” This will hardly be the case for Cerrissa. Police officers witnessed this crime from beginning to end. Mr. Sisk watch the newspaper because I bet you will be somewhat pleased with the outcome of this case.
I only say somewhat because Mr. Sisk, and the rest of Washington State, will be disgusted with the maximum penalty for Vehicular Homicide and Assault. I suspect the maximum jail term will be shockingly low for taking a life. Mr. Sisk that is where you need to direct your frustration and anger; toward our lawmakers. If you want to stop DUI then join the campaign to have Ignition Interlock Devices installed in every vehicle operated in the United States. For everyone. Not just DUI convicts. If you are not willing to accept that measure, you and everyone else will continue to be frustrated with these recurring stories.