Kennewick defense attorney pleads guilty to drunken driving

Tyler Richardson, Tri-City HeraldJune 13, 2014 

Scott Johnson.jpg

Attorney Scott Johnson.

TRI-CITY HERALD FILE

A well-known Kennewick defense attorney who drove his Jeep through part of a Richland golf course and crashed into concrete barriers has pleaded guilty to drunken driving.

Scott Johnson pleaded guilty to driving with a blood alcohol level of more than .15. The legal limit in Washington for adults is 0.08 percent.

He was sentenced to two days in jail and will have to pay $1,400 in court fines.

He is a private-practice lawyer who specializes in criminal work and has a contract with the Benton & Franklin Counties Office of Public Defense to handle some homicide cases.

Johnson will spend a day in jail in Spokane, where he also will complete alcohol information school and a victims' panel class, and a day in Benton County jail.

Johnson, 41, called the incident a "really poor choice," saying he was close to home and thought he could drive. He did not plead to a lesser charge or work out a plea deal.

"When you screw up, you have to take accountability and I did that," Johnson said Friday.

Officers got a report of a Jeep driving erratically at 11:12 p.m. on Memorial Day, according to police reports. The vehicle was all over the road and swerving into oncoming lanes.

The person who called 911 told dispatchers the Jeep also left the road and drove through part of Columbia Point Golf Court, reports said. Officers spotted the Jeep traveling slow on Columbia Point Drive.

Johnson drove across all lanes of traffic and over a curb after officers turned on their lights, reports said. The Jeep then crashed into three concrete barriers.

Johnson admitted he drank too much alcohol when asked by officers, court documents said. He gave at least two incomplete breath samples, which Johnson attributes to bad asthma and allergies.

Johnson's blood was drawn at Kadlec Regional Medical Center and the results have not come back yet, he said. His driver's license will automatically be suspended for a year because of the incomplete samples. An incomplete sample reportedly is considered a refusal to take the mandated breath test.

-- Tyler Richardson: 509-582-1556; trichardson@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @Ty_richardson

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