White Swan man faces trial for fifth DUI charge

Paula Horton, Tri-City HeraldOctober 13, 2012 

KENNEWICK, Wash. -- A 34-year-old White Swan man is facing a Nov. 13 trial after picking up his fifth DUI charge.

Thomas Winnier was arrested by Washington State Patrol troopers Sept. 23 after a trooper on an unrelated traffic stop spotted his car straddling the line while he drove by on Highway 240, documents said.

Winnier has a previous DUI conviction from Arizona in 2002, and three DUIs in Washington in 2007, 2008 and 2010.

Winnier pleaded innocent in Benton County Superior Court to felony DUI, failing to have an ignition interlock device and driving with a suspended license.

When the trooper stopped Winnier, he could smell an odor of alcohol in the car and from Winnier, and Winner had a flushed face, watery and bloodshot eyes, documents said.

Winnier reportedly told troopers he was lost and was trying to get home after leaving the Pub.

Winnier allegedly said he had a "couple" of drinks about an hour earlier. He failed the field sobriety tests and the preliminary breath test registered a 0.157 percent, almost double the 0.08 legal limit, documents said.

Kennewick man pleads guilty to stealing beer

A 22-year-old Kennewick man picked up a felony conviction after he admitted to stealing beer from a Kennewick Walmart.

Jaime Mendoza Jr. pleaded guilty in Benton County Superior Court to third-degree retail theft with extenuating circumstances.

He faced a sentence of up to one year in jail, but received 30 days with credit for time served. As part of a plea agreement, a bail jumping charge was dismissed.

"It's unfortunate. This is a theft of beer, but the way you did it, it amounts to a felony," Judge Craig Matheson said.

Mendoza and another man went to the Walmart store at 3:10 a.m. and tried to buy two cases of Keystone beer, documents said.

When they were told it was after the hours when the beer could legally be sold, they took off running away from employees and out an emergency exit.

Officers identified Mendoza after using surveillance video to get the license plate number of the car.

Defense attorney Sal Mendoza Jr. said since the incident Mendoza's mother died.

"He's had to grow up quickly," he said.

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