Orting, Washington was the site of a unique DUI event involving a motorcyclist and an unsuspecting and innocent elk. On late Tuesday, it’s reported that Highway 162 was the scene of a DUI that left one elk severely stunned after being crashed into by a blue Honda GL1500I2 motorcycle. The driver and passenger were listed as a 51-year-old Orting man and a 27-year-old Lake Tapps woman, both of whom suffered injuries during the crash.
According to reports, the elk was standing in the middle of the road when the motorcycle crashed into it. Normally, this would be a simple case of tragic circumstances and bad luck, with the elk running away and the motorcyclists going to the hospital. However, when authorities arrived at the scene, they suspected that the driver was intoxicated, making this a DUI case instead of a case of rotten luck.
State troopers and medics arrived on the scene at 10 PM Tuesday after they heard reports of a motorcycle crash in the area. The driver and his passenger were transported to Tacoma General Hospital where they were treated for injuries. It’s not known yet how severe the injuries are but for now, it appears there were no fatalities in the accident. There was a vehicle casualty, however, as the motorcycle was completely totaled in the collision with the elk.
The State Patrol reports that alcohol and drugs were involved in the crash although no further details about this statement were given at the scene. It took a massive toll on traffic. The entire highway was blocked for over 3 and a half hours during the cleanup and investigation. For now, the investigation is ongoing as state patrolmen try to piece together exactly what happened and how much of a factor alcohol and drugs played.
Sites like DUIwise can help make sense of cases like this, given that they exist entirely to provide common legal advice in DUI cases such as this. This was a crash with a motorcycle and wildlife that left only the driver and his passenger injured. No other cars were involved. However, the moment that alcohol becomes a culprit in an accident such as this, police are obligated to treat it like a DUI case. The motorcyclist may have lucked out this time and only injured himself, but he was out there on the road driving intoxicated and could have hurt anyone on the road. He also could have killed himself and his passenger in this incident.
Believe it or not, motorcyclists are not immune to the DUI laws of the state. There are no special rules for motorcyclists who drive drunk as opposed to major motor vehicle drivers who drive drunk. A motorcyclist must have a license just like someone who drives a car and they must adhere to the rules of a road. Operating any kind of motor vehicle on the road can get you charged with a DUI. In Washington, this driver will face the same day in court as any other drunk driver and he may even face more charges later on since he endangered the life of his passenger in this incident.
So far the victims have not issued any statements on the case. As mentioned earlier, it’s believed that drugs also played a factor in the accident. As DUIwise.com points out, driving under the influence of drugs can tack on additional charges in this case or may play a primary role in the way that the prosecution wants to try the case. Adding drugs and alcohol into the mix makes it even more dangerous and a more blatant disregard for the people on the road.
Washington has extremely harsh penalties for DUI offenders. A first offense DUI in Washington carries with it penalties of up to 364 days in jail, 90 days in a 24/7 sobriety program, or 15 days of electronic home monitoring. As you can see, Washington is one of the most inventive states when it comes to dishing out punishments for a DUI offense. Judges have grown ever more tired of seeing these cases before them and frequently opt for the harshest penalties instead of leniency.
Anyone charged with a DUI in Washington should immediately retain a lawyer. It’s unknown as to whether or not the people involved in this incident have retained a lawyer, but given the situation, it’s a wise thing if they do. For now, there’s no word on their condition either. All that’s known is that there was a major collision with an elk that resulted in at least one person being charged with a DUI in Washington. What the defendant chooses to do after the charge is entirely up to them.
The majority of people will get a lawyer after a DUI charge. While it’s true that some people simply give up and plead guilty and take whatever punishment comes their way, it’s important to note that getting a lawyer after a DUI charge will almost always improve your outcome. Instead of getting a few days in jail, you might get no jail time at all. In some cases, a lawyer can have a first offense DUI reduced to a lesser charge. This is a tremendous help given the stiff penalties that insurance companies dish out to DUI offenders. Sometimes the insurance rates become so high after a DUI that some people can’t even afford them.
Only time will tell what’s ahead for this motorcyclist that allegedly drove drunk on a highway in Washington. For now, he’s lost at least his motorcycle. Later on, he may lose much more things if he doesn’t hire a good lawyer. He could lose his license to drive, his reasonable insurance rates, and even his freedom if he chooses to simply plead guilty and give up. DUIwise heavily recommends not giving up to the motorcyclist. Instead, hiring a good attorney who knows how to compassionately represent clients in court and get them help for any problems they face is a much better idea.