Posted 1:47 p.m. 10/17/12
Editor's note: Bruce Heating and Air-Conditioning of Kennewick screens all of its drivers, and no DUI conviction showed up on Steven Bazaldua’s driving record when he was hired less than a year ago, said the company. Bazaldua is accused of having a blood-alcohol level more than double the legal limit after crashing into a car Monday. At the time of the crash, he was driving a van owned by Bruce Heating but was off duty and in violation of the company’s vehicle use policy. He also has a pending DUI charge in Benton County that the company says he never disclosed. Bruce Heating issued a statement saying it regrets the incident and is committed to providing a safe work environment for all of its employees, customers and the public.
A Pasco man with a DUI case pending in Benton County now is under investigation in Franklin County for being intoxicated when he crashed into a car Monday.
Steven Bazaldua, 28, is accused having a blood-alcohol content more than double the legal 0.08 limit when he was arrested and taken to the Franklin County jail.
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Court documents indicate the results of the two tests showed a blood-alcohol content of 0.176 and 0.180.
Bazaldua was in Franklin County Superior Court on Tuesday, where he was ordered held for investigation of vehicular assault, possession of cocaine and DUI.
"This is a very serious offense, and he poses a continuing danger to the community," said Deputy Prosecutor Teddy Chow.
Chow said Bazaldua has an unresolved DUI case from last year in Benton County.
He said Bazaldua presumably was told not to consume alcohol pending completion of the case and may have had to have an ignition interlock device on his vehicle.
Bazaldua apparently was driving a van owned by his employer, Bruce Heating & Air, when he was arrested, Chow said.
"Normally, defendants aren't required to have ignition interlocks in employer's vehicles," he said. "However, it seems to me that Mr. Bazaldua is using that to his advantage."
Chow asked Judge Craig Matheson to set bail at $25,000.
Defense attorney Brian Roach, who represents Bazaldua in his Benton County case, requested $5,000 bail and said his client would be willing to wear a special ankle bracelet that detects alcohol use.
The Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor, or SCRAM, samples a person's perspiration to make sure they're complying with court-ordered sobriety.
"I appreciate the seriousness of the allegation," Roach said, adding that the SCRAM would be a way to monitor his client.
Matheson set bail at $25,000, but said he'd be willing to consider reducing it to $15,000 if Bazaldua made arrangements to wear the SCRAM bracelet.
"I think it should be in place," Matheson said. "Those things notoriously don't get done, and I'm not going to count on it."
Prosecutors have until Thursday to charge or release Bazaldua. If charged, he'll be back in court Tuesday.
According to court documents, Bazaldua was involved in a multiple-vehicle collision around 6:30 p.m. Monday on Court Street near Road 48.
Franklin County sheriff's deputies said they found a maroon sedan with two women inside complaining of neck and back pain.
Then, they found Bazaldua standing next to his van, with a third vehicle nearby. The driver of the third car said she followed the company van after seeing it hit the maroon sedan, documents said.
The driver said Bazaldua seemed intoxicated, and she smelled alcohol on his breath when he talked to her, documents said.
When deputies spoke to Bazaldua, they said they also smelled alcohol on his breath and noted he was having a hard time keeping his balance and was slurring his words, documents said.
After being arrested on suspicion of DUI, deputies found a $50 bill rolled up Bazaldua's wallet with a white powder substance, which tested positive for cocaine, documents said.
Possible homicide victim found in Grant County
A suspected homicide victim was found Tuesday by a hunter near Mattawa, Grant County sheriff's officials said.
The victim's body was north of a Fish & Wildlife access area, near the 22000 block of Road 26, said sheriff's Chief Deputy Ryan Rectenwald.
The area, which connects to the Columbia River, is about 3 miles southwest of the Mattawa city limits.
Sheriff's officials initially said the victim was a man, but the sheriff's office updated the report to say the gender is not yet known.
The body was found at 10:15 a.m. No other details were available.
Federal officials issue warrant for Pasco man
Police and Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers are searching for a Pasco man wanted by federal officials.
Matthew Gatwech Wuol, 28, is 6-foot-4, 185 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. He was last known to be living in Pasco.
Wuol is wanted for a federal probation violation on an original offense for a weapons violation.
He has two warrants for his arrest for failing to appear in court and bail jumping from Kennewick.
Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers pays a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information that results in a felony arrest.
Anyone with information about Wuol's whereabouts can call 586-8477 or go to www.tricitiescrimestoppers.org. Tips can also be sent by text message by writing "Text TIP 411" plus the message to CRIMES (274637).
All calls to Crime Stoppers are confidential.