A Battle Ground woman has pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a March 2021 incident when she allegedly crashed into another vehicle on Harrison Avenue while she was intoxicated and fled the scene.
The defendant, Lindsey Joan Nordeen-Walter, 37, is accused of being involved in a collision at the intersection of Harrison Avenue and High Street on March 16. After the crash, the other driver reported Nordeen-Walter had agreed to meet with them in a nearby parking lot to exchange information, but instead of stopping in the parking lot Nordeen-Walter allegedly “took off at a high rate of speed without stopping or staying to exchange information,” according to court documents.
The other driver reportedly called the police and followed Nordeen-Walter “until (she) finally pulled over.”
A Centralia police officer contacted Nordeen-Walter and “detected the obvious odor of intoxicants emanating from her breath as she spoke,” according to court documents. A second officer “also smelled the strong odor of intoxicants coming from her person and her vehicle,” and observed that she had slurred speech, “watery eyes and her face was flush.”
She consented to a field sobriety test but “at this time, (she) began to cry and said she was scared,” according to court documents.
During the test, she reportedly “continued to cry and told the officers to ‘just take me in.’”
After she displayed significant signs of intoxication during the test, she reportedly consented to provide a breath sample, but “kept failing to provide enough breath to get a readying on the PBT.”
She was arrested and transported to the Centralia police station. Then, after officers obtained a warrant for a blood sample, she was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital for a blood draw.
While Nordeen-Walter was initially charged in Centralia Municipal Court for allegedly driving under the influence (DUI), a review of her criminal history found three DUI convictions on her record in Thurston County since 2019, which qualified her new DUI charge for elevation to a felony.
“Not only is this her fourth DUI in 10 years, it’s her fourth DUI since 2019,” said Deputy Prosecutor Joe Bassetti at Nordeen-Walter’s preliminary appearance in Lewis County Superior Court on Thursday.
While the alleged incident itself took place in March 2020, charges were not filed in Lewis County Superior Court until Aug. 24 and she was not arrested on the warrant until Jan. 26, 2022, when she was stopped by a Washington State Patrol trooper on Interstate Avenue in Chehalis and was taken into custody.
Defense Attorney Katie Thomason reminded the court on Thursday that the warrant was issued on Aug. 24 — the same day the charges against Nordeen-Walter were filed — and so she was not summoned to court or notified of the warrant until her arrest on Wednesday.
“This was not a knowing or willful miss of court,” said Thomason.
While Thomason asked Judge James Lawler to reduce Nordeen-Walter’s bail from the $100,000 set in the warrant, citing Nordeen-Walter’s successful appearance on other court matters in Thurston County and ongoing treatment that would be negatively impacted by her remaining in custody, Bassetti requested that Nordeen Walter’s bail stay at $100,000.
“There are a couple things that are concerning for the state in this case … obviously, this is a felony DUI which presents a significant community safety risk,” said Bassetti, adding that Nordeen-Walter has 10 prior arrest warrants on her record.
Lawler opted to increase Nordeen-Walter’s bail to $150,000, citing community safety risk and Nordeen-Walter’s prior warrant history.
She has pleaded not guilty to charges of felony DUI, driving without an interlock device and hit-and-run to an attended vehicle, on Jan. 27 and trial has been scheduled for March 21.