A Richland driver is going to jail after losing control in the parking lot of a Prosser garden center and slamming into an employee on her dinner break.
Jason A. Heep was high on drugs at the time. Lab tests show the methamphetamine concentration in his blood was nine times higher than what’s considered a therapeutic dose.
The garden center worker was thrown about 30 feet from her picnic table and knocked unconscious.
Mintues after the May 2016 crash, Heep told police, “He only remembered feeling an impact to his vehicle, opening his eyes and striking the nursery gate,” court documents said.
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Heep, 47, pleaded guilty last month in Benton County Superior Court to vehicular assault, a felony.
He was sentenced to six months in jail on work release if he qualifies for the program. Judge Cameron Mitchell gave him until Nov. 21 to report to jail.
According to court documents, Heep was speeding on Wine Country Road when he crossed the center line into oncoming traffic about 4:45 p.m. The car veered off the road and into the parking lot of Sandy’s Bloom Central.
Heep’s car first hit a parked truck, causing the truck to spin and land in the opposite direction, documents said.
Then, he hit a metal picnic table where Katrina Bliss was eating.
Bliss later told police she “saw the car coming toward her and she believed that she tried to move out of the way, but she could not remember being struck,” court documents said.
Heep’s car also caused considerable property damage to the business.
An officer noticed that Heep’s eyes were slightly glossy and red and his speech was “slow and fairly slurred at times,” documents said.
Both Bliss and Heep were taken to PMH Medical Center.
She suffered a concussion and a broken right toe and left ankle.
Heep appeared less confused but “still had difficulty articulating his thoughts and his speech remained mildly slurred,” documents said.
His blood was drawn about three hours after the crash. A forensic scientist at a state lab concluded that he had both meth and amphetamine in his system.
In addition to the jail time, Heep has been ordered to undergo substance abuse treatment and to pay $1,890 in restitution.