Pasco woman pleads innocent to vehicular assault

A 30-year-old Pasco woman had nearly three times the legal limit of alcohol in her system last month when her car slammed into the back of an SUV on Interstate 182, according to troopers.

Dina Maria Aguilar pleaded innocent Tuesday in Franklin County Superior Court to vehicular assault and failure to stop and identify at the scene of an injury accident, both felonies.

Her trial is set for Dec. 14.

Aguilar was behind the wheel of a 2009 Kia Spectra at 5:15 p.m. Sept. 6 when it rear-ended a 2000 Mitsubishi Montero. Both vehicles were westbound on the interstate near Road 100.

A witness told Washington State Patrol troopers that the Kia was "driving erratically just prior to the collision," which ended with the Mitsubishi rolling over in the median and coming to rest in the eastbound lanes, court documents said.

"After the collision, Aguilar continued to travel down I-182 until the car came to a stop when it rolled into the back of a car that was parked on the shoulder," the documents said.

A trooper who tried to contact Aguilar allegedly found her asleep in the driver's seat and had to shake her several times to get her to wake up.

The trooper saw she had watery, bloodshot eyes and noticed an open vodka bottle in the car, court documents said. Asked if she had been drinking, Aguilar said, "Some," documents said.

She reportedly was unable to perform some field sobriety tests, and at the Franklin County jail was found to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.237 and 0.229 percent. The legal limit to drive in Washington state is 0.08 percent.

Yaroslav P. Sereda, the Mitsubishi's driver, was initially believed to only have minor injuries but state patrol detectives later learned he suffered a punctured lung in the crash, The 20-year-old Pasco man was treated at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland.

While the case is pending, Aguilar has been ordered not to possess or consume alcohol.

Pasco man gets month in jail for using false name

A Pasco man was sentenced to a month in jail for defrauding the court by giving a fake name when he pleaded guilty to drunken driving.

Juan Carlos Ramirez-Valdez, 32, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree criminal impersonation. The sentence will be served while he is doing time for his Pasco Municipal Court case on the underlying offense.

According to court documents, Ramirez-Valdez was stopped April 2 and could not provide Pasco Officer Chad Pettijohn with a valid driver's license or identification. He told Pettijohn his name was Antonio Valdez Acevedo.

Pettijohn arrested him on suspicion of driving under the influence, reckless driving and no valid operator's license without identification, documents said.

Then on April 4 in Municipal Court, the city's prosecutor Bronson Brown offered Ramirez-Valdez a deal. Ramirez-Valdez talked with a defense attorney before pleading guilty to DUI, court documents said.

However, the court was unaware that Ramirez-Valdez was using an alias when he signed the paperwork with the Acevedo name, Brown said in documents.

If Ramirez-Valdez had used his correct name in that case, the mandatory minimum offered by the city would have increased because his criminal history includes DUI.

It is not clear when the fraud was discovered. In addition to his sentence, Ramirez-Valdez is in the Franklin County jail on a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold.