A Wapato man with a history of drunken driving was arrested earlier this month for allegedly swerving on Highway 395 and going below the speed limit after drinking several beers at a Pasco restaurant.
George Valensia-Estrada, 30, pleaded innocent to felony driving under the influence, operating a vehicle without ignition interlock, a misdemeanor, and first-degree driving with a revoked license, a gross misdemeanor. His trial is scheduled to start May 11.
According to court documents, a Franklin County sheriff's deputy was driving north on the highway at 2 a.m. March 5 when he noticed a truck "having difficulty maintaining its lane of travel." The speed limit is 70 mph but the truck, driven by Valensia-Estrada, was going 50 to 65 mph "without maintaining a constant speed," documents said.
The deputy reported that the truck was swerving within its lane and at times touching both the striped and solid fog lines. When the truck turned onto Highway 17, it crossed over the solid white line for 20 to 30 yards straddling it before the driver correct himself, the deputy reported.
That's when the deputy activated his emergency lights and stopped the truck near Pepiot Road.
Valensia-Estrada initially told the deputy he did not drink and was going home, but the passenger became agitated with the questions and said they had just come from a restaurant where they each had consumed two drinks, court documents said. Valensia-Estrada allegedly had watery and bloodshot eyes and slurred speech, and smelled of alcohol.
A check of his driver's license showed it was revoked with an interlock requirement until February 2024. He performed poorly when asked to do three field sobriety tests, documents said.
Once arrested and at the Franklin County jail, Valensia-Estrada recorded a 0.13 blood alcohol level, court documents said. The legal limit to drive in Washington is .08 percent.
He then became argumentative with officers and said he had six to seven beers at a restaurant and "that his last drink was just before he had left," documents said.
Valensia-Estrada has four DUI convictions between 2002 and 2009. He has been ordered not to possess or consume alcohol or drive without a valid license and insurance while this case is pending.