A Benton City man with a history of drunken driving arrests was locked up on $50,000 bail for allegedly driving his parents home after having seven beers.
Jaime A. Palencia, 37, is charged in Benton County Superior Court with felony driving under the influence, first-degree driving with a suspended license and an ignition interlock violation.
He pleaded innocent last week and is scheduled for trial June 8.
Offenders can be charged in Washington with felony DUI if they have four or more prior offenses within 10 years.
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Court documents show Palencia has DUI convictions from July 2009, December 2009, April 2012, August 2012 and April 2013. The newest case stems from an early April 1 traffic stop by Benton County sheriff’s Cpl. Scott Hutson.
Hutson saw a truck, driving south on Webber Canyon Road, cross over the center line into northbound lanes. He watched the truck drive onto the shoulder as it turned west onto Second Street, then accelerate and go through a stop sign after Hutson had turned on his emergency lights, court documents said.
The truck parked in the driveway of a Benton Avenue home where Palencia lives.
Palencia allegedly swayed, stumbled and fell as he was trying to walk to the deputy, who could smell alcohol coming from the driver from about five feet away, said documents. Palencia also had red, glassy eyes and appeared disoriented, and refused to do field sobriety tests or provide a breath sample, documents said.
Palencia admitted he knew he wasn’t supposed to be driving because his license was suspended, and that he did not have an ignition interlock on his truck, court documents said.
He told authorities that he went to a casino to pick up his parents — who were in the truck during the traffic stop — and he had seven beers before heading home, documents said. He also allegedly said he would fail any tests because he was drunk.
Hutson got a warrant so a sample of Palencia’s blood could be taken at Trios Health in Kennewick.
Deputy Prosecutor Megan Killgore said the results were not back from the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab at the time she filed the charges.