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Richland man gets 5 years for 2 DUIs in 8 days by same officer

KENNEWICK — A 34-year-old man who was arrested for drunken driving twice in eight days by the same Richland officer is going to prison for five years.

Benjamin John Gordon of Richland was sentenced in Benton County Superior Court on two separate cases.

Each case involved the same charges of felony driving under the influence, first-degree driving with a suspended or revoked license and an ignition interlock violation.

The DUI charges also included the aggravating allegation that Gordon has “two current offenses with 14 points on each offense.”

He pleaded guilty July 1.

Gordon was charged with felony DUI because he had four prior DUI-related convictions in the last 10 years.

On March 17, Gordon had three or four rum and Cokes at a Jadwin Avenue bar before the bartender had to “cut him off due to his level of intoxication,” court documents said.

A short time later, Richland Cpl. Erik Lundquist was parked in a gas station at George Washington Way and Symons Street when he saw a truck pass. Lundquist checked the registration and learned the owner had a revoked license and was supposed to have an ignition interlock installed, documents said.

Lundquist turned on his emergency lights to stop the truck, but the driver reportedly kept going, finally stopping in a parking lot at Jadwin and Van Giesen Street.

When questioned, Gordon claimed he did not see the lights and denied drinking. He refused to take any field sobriety tests or give a breath sample. A passenger reportedly told the officer she had been at a bar with Gordon, and she was the one who had been drinking.

But Lundquist noticed Gordon had glassy, watery and bloodshot eyes, had trouble removing the ID card from his wallet, and had a strong odor of intoxicants on his breath, court documents said. The truck also did not have an ignition interlock device as required.

After arresting Gordon, Lundquist got a search warrant to draw blood for his blood-alcohol level and the blood was sent for testing.While out on patrol again March 25, Lundquist saw Gordon’s truck pass at 1:45 a.m. along Stevens Drive and Snyder Street. Only one person could be seen inside.

The officer again stopped the truck and found that Gordon’s “face was flushed, his eyes were watery, glassy and bloodshot and that his speech was slurred,” court documents said. Lundquist again smelled alcohol on Gordon’s breath, documents said.

Gordon was asked to step out of the truck and was reportedly “unsteady on his feet.” He refused to take the sobriety tests or give a breath sample, so his blood again was drawn at a hospital for later analysis.

Gordon’s criminal history, which dates to 1993, includes three counts each of second-degree theft, taking a vehicle without permission and DUI; two counts of attempting to elude police, first-degree possession of stolen property and second-degree possession of stolen property; and one count each of a drug violation, second-degree assault and first-degree negligent driving, which was amended from a DUI.

In June 2000, Gordon was busted for ramming a police officer with a stolen all-terrain vehicle.

A Richland officer had responded to Columbia Point Marina for complaints about the ATV, but Gordon escaped by driving the vehicle along a bike path.

Gordon then drove up to 80 mph on Carrier Road, which connects with the southern tip of Jadwin Avenue south of Interstate 182.

When a police car tried to block his vehicle, Gordon slowed down and waved his arms as if he was going to stop, according to news reports at the time.

Then Gordon sped up and ran into Officer Jon Wiseman, knocking him 10 feet.

Gordon was caught a short time later.

As a part of the current sentence, upon his release Gordon must not consume any alcohol; drive without a valid license and proof of insurance; drive within Washington while his blood-alcohol level is over 0.08 percent within two hours after drinking; and refuse a breath or blood test to determine his alcohol concentration.

He also must undergo an evaluation for substance abuse and apply for an ignition interlock driver’s license.

Suspect held in Richland sexual assault case

RICHLAND — A Spokane County man is being held on $30,000 bail on allegations he sexually assaulted a young girl over three years.

Richard Charles Harris, 50, pleaded innocent to first-degree rape of a child.

Richland police started investigating Harris after the alleged sexual abuse was reported to a state agency.

Court documents state the abuse first occurred in 2008. In an interview, the grade-school girl “went in to extreme detail as to what (Harris) would do to her,” documents said.

Harris’ trial is set April 4.

Man pleads not guilty to stealing truck’s tires

KENNEWICK — A 43-year-old man pleaded innocent to charges he stole tires and wheels valued at more than $2,500 from a truck parked in a Kennewick driveway.

Darin Frank Williams of Kennewick has a scheduled trial date of March 28 for second-degree theft.

According to court documents, the tires and wheels were taken sometime between Jan. 7-8 from their owner’s driveway.

Three weeks later, the owner found them mounted on a truck that belongs to Williams at a West 24th Avenue address, documents said.

At that time, Williams was in the Benton County jail on another matter.

Bail was set at $7,500 in the theft case.

* Kristin M. Kraemer: 509-582-1531; kkraemer@tricityherald.com

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