Crime

Richland Mayor Bob Thompson arrested for driving drunk near the Kennewick mall

Update to this story: Richland mayor was over legal limit to drive. He blames the DUI on dehydration

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Richland Mayor Bob Thompson was arrested early Sunday for allegedly driving drunk near the Columbia Center mall in Kennewick.

Thompson, 63, appeared Monday in Benton County District Court on one count of DUI, a misdemeanor.

Judge Dan Kathren allowed him to continue to be out of jail without posting bail.

Thompson, a longtime criminal defense attorney, told the Tri-City Herald on Monday that he was driving home after dining with friends when he was pulled over at Gage Boulevard and Center Parkway, apparently for speeding.

Thompson said he’d had three drinks earlier in the evening but believed it was safe to drive.

He said dehydration — a possible side effect of an earlier medical procedure that included being sedated — may have contributed to his unexpectedly high blood-alcohol readings.

Thompson praised the Washington State Patrol trooper who arrested him, as well as Benton County jail staff for their professionalism.

A trooper stopped Thompson late Saturday near the roundabout just west of the mall.

Bob Thompson
Bob Thompson


Thompson agreed to a breathalyzer test at the scene, which came back over 0.08 percent, the legal limit to drive in Washington state, said Trooper Chris Thorson, a state patrol spokesman.

Thompson told the Herald the result of his breathalyzer was 0.11 percent.

He also confirmed he requested an independent test and had his blood drawn at Kadlec Regional Medical Center. The results indicated extreme dehydration, Thompson said.

Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller said his office got a call from the state patrol over the weekend giving them a heads up that Thompson had been arrested and troopers would be charging him with driving under the influence.

Thompson was taken into custody at 12:04 a.m. Sunday and his car was impounded by the state patrol.

He was released from the Benton County jail after eight hours, the mandatory minimum required to allow people to sober up before being released.

Thompson’s next court appearance is scheduled Aug. 7 before Judge Steve Osborne.

Thompson has been on the Richland City Council since 1994.

He is running for re-election to his Position 1 council seat against challengers Kalen Finn, Wendi Warner and Lillian “Randy” Slovic. The top two finishers in the August primary will advance to the November general election.

Kristin M. Kraemer covers the judicial system and crime issues for the Tri-City Herald. She has been a journalist for more than 20 years in Washington and California.
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