Former Deputy Arrested On Felony DUI - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Former Deputy Arrested On Felony DUI

SPOKANE, Wash. - A Spokane Valley man with a history of drug and/or alcohol-related crashes was again arrested for driving while impaired after a sheriff's deputy determined he was under the influence of drugs during a Friday morning traffic stop.

Deputy Chuck Sciortino stopped 49-year-old James L. Crabtree about 1 a.m. after noticing his car had defective lighting and that his driving appeared to be impaired.

Crabtree made a wide right turn from Pines Road that broached the oncoming lane on Mansfield as the deputy was turning around to stop him for a defective headlight.

Crabtree was exhibiting objective signs of being under the influence of a stimulant, and Sciortino called a drug recognition expert to the scene.  Deputy Todd Miller determined the driver was impaired and arrested him for DUI.

Sciortino began inventorying Crabtree's 2005 Buick for impound and spotted baggies containing suspected methamphetamine inside the car.  He locked the vehicle and had it towed to the sheriff's vehicle processing station.

Friday afternoon, Sciortino executed a search warrant on the car and recovered two 1/8th ounce baggies of meth, a misdemeanor amount of marijuana and what appeared to be a buy/owe list – a ledger of drug sales.

At his first appearance Friday, Crabtree was charged with Felony DUI, a charge based on the number of previous misdemeanor counts of DUI a driver has.

Crabtree, a former Spokane County deputy sheriff, nearly killed a former co-worker, Lt. Earl Howerton, when he slammed head-on into Howerton's patrol car on Bigelow Gulch Road.

In November 2010, several citizens blocked his car at Broadway and Pines after he ran into one of them.

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