Police sergeant avoids prosecution - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Police sergeant avoids prosecution

Spokane Police Sergeant Bradley Thoma in court after being cited for DUI Spokane Police Sergeant Bradley Thoma in court after being cited for DUI

Meghann M. Cuniff
The Spokesman-Review

SPOKANE, Wash. - A Spokane police sergeant will avoid criminal prosecution for a drunken hit-and-run crash if he stays out of trouble for five years.

Bradley N. Thoma, 44, was cited for drunken driving when he rear-ended a Mead woman’s truck in September, then drove away without stopping. A judge amended the charges Friday to include one count of misdemeanor leaving the scene of an accident, then dismissed that charge after being presented with a letter from the victim that said she’d been paid for the damage to her vehicle and was “not interested in (pursuing) Mr. Thoma any further.”

The judge also allowed Thoma to enroll in a five-year deferred prosecution program that will result in the drunken driving charge being dismissed if he complies with the requirements.

By asking for the deferred prosecution, Thoma acknowledged he has a severe alcohol problem, said Brian O’Brien, Spokane County deputy prosecutor.

“Quite frankly, most people don’t want to go through deferred prosecution” because of the stringent requirements, O’Brien said. “It isn’t the easy way out."

The deal, however, left the victim of the hit-and-run accident feeling duped.

Sherry Prickett, 51, said she agreed to sign the letter prepared by the law office of Rob Cossey, who represents Thoma, only because she thought it referred to financial issues surrounding the crash. Thoma already had paid $471 to repair her vehicle and Prickett said she thought she was being asked to sign the letter e-mailed to her just hours before Friday’s court hearing to reflect that she didn’t want to seek more money.

“I do feel misled,” Prickett said. “If I had known it was releasing him of the hit-and-run charge I would never have signed.”

After reviewing the letter, Judge Douglas Robinson, a visiting judge from Whitman County, agreed to the deferred prosecution agreement and dropped the hit-and-run charge in Spokane County District Court on Friday morning.

More information from

www.spokesman.com

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