Driver in I-82 crash allegedly under influence of alcohol, pain meds

The Benton County Justice Center in Kennewick.
The Benton County Justice Center in Kennewick. Tri-City Herald

A motorist who caused a pickup to roll on Interstate 82 claims he earlier took pain medication and had a couple drinks of whiskey and that he fell asleep at the wheel.

Kaleb B. Bell’s blood-alcohol level allegedly was 0.120 percent, above the state legal limit of 0.08 percent.

The 23-year-old Kennewick man has pleaded innocent in Benton County Superior Court to one count of vehicular assault. His trial is Oct. 19.

Washington State Patrol Trooper James Zane responded Aug. 21 to reports of a three-car collision on I-82, west of the Interstate 182 connection into Richland.

Zane found a Suzuki Kizashi had struck a Chevy Silverado, pushing the truck off the roadway, where it rolled, court documents said.

Chelsea Pennington, the truck’s driver, was taken to a Tri-City hospital for a broken arm, head injury and needed surgery to remove metal fragments.

Bell initially denied having anything to drink. However, he told troopers he believed he fell asleep and acknowledged getting Tylenol with codeine because he had a sore back, court documents said.

During field sobriety tests, Bell showed six of six clues that he was under the influence. Bell later said his first drink at a friend’s house was a double, but he didn’t know if the second was a single or a double, documents said.

Bell is out of custody after posting bond on $5,100. He was ordered to surrender his driver’s license and to not consume alcohol or drugs unless prescribed by a doctor.

Kristin M. Kraemer: 509-582-1531;; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer