Driver in March crash in which 2 kids were hurt faces vehicular assault charges

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — A driver involved in an accident that sent him and two juvenile passengers to the hospital has been charged with two counts of vehicular assault and one count of driving under the influence with a child in the vehicle.

On March 13, Port Townsend resident Paul D. Davis, 40, was allegedly driving a Buick Le­Sabre at 79 mph and with a blood-alcohol content of 0.329 percent — more than four times the legal limit — when the car left the road and hit a tree on Umatilla Avenue, according to a State Patrol report.

Davis is scheduled for arraignment at 8:30 a.m. Friday in Jefferson County Superior Court, 1920 Jefferson St.

The charges were delayed in order to allow Davis to complete a treatment program, said Deputy Prosecutor Chris Ashcraft.

It also took some time to determine sentencing possibilities “because this law is a lot more complicated than it looks,” he said.

Each count of vehicular assault carries a 10-year sentence and a $20,000 fine maximum, while the DUI charge is a gross misdemeanor with a maximum one-year sentence.

Ashcraft said Davis would most likely serve less than two years if convicted.

The passengers in the car were Davis' daughter, Ella Davis, 11, and her friend, Lily Teagarden, 12.

Davis and his daughter were extricated with the Jaws of Life, transported to Jefferson Healthcare and then immediately airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Lily was taken to Jefferson Healthcare, where it was determined her injuries were more serious than what was originally determined, and she was airlifted later in the afternoon.

The three victims were discharged from the hospital more than a week after the accident.

Lily has recovered physically, but the emotional impact will take longer to heal, according to her mother, Jasmine Teagarden.

“Driving drunk has a huge effect, and you never really know how serious it is until it happens to you,” she said.

Jasmine Teagarden said she plans to file suit against Davis' insurance company to recover $130,000 for her daughter's medical care.

Davis and his wife, Jenny, own the Public House Grill & Ales in Port Townsend.

According to the report, “there were no . . . tire friction marks on the roadway leading up to the Buick that would indicate braking.”

The probable cause statement quoted Lily Teagarden as saying she was “confused and scared because the trees were going by really fast.”

Noah Harrison, Davis' attorney, did not return calls for comment Monday.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: June 02. 2014 6:49PM
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