Crime

Former owner of Chehalis CLS Communications charged with assault

After reportedly propositioning a female bartender for sex, an intoxicated 65-year-old man got into an altercation with another patron Nov. 30 in a Chehalis bar and was allegedly pushed when he hit his head on the floor and fractured his skull.

On Friday, James Michael Abbott, 49, the former owner of Chehalis CLS Communications, appeared in a preliminary hearing in Lewis County Superior Court for a charge of second-degree assault for allegedly pushing Gary R. Dvojack.

Police found Dvojack unconscious and lying in a pool of blood on the floor of the Star Tavern, 242 N.W. Chehalis Ave., about 10:30 p.m. Nov. 30.

According to court documents, Dvojack suffered a fracture to the right side of his skull, a cerebral contusion, a subarachnoid hemorrhage and a subdural hemorrhage. The blood had spilled from his right ear. Dvojack was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital, but was later flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle because he was in need of neurosurgery.

Dvojack’s blood alcohol level at Providence registered 0.3, more than three times the legal limit for driving a vehicle.

On Friday, Dvojack was transferred out of Harborview’s intensive care unit. He remains in the hospital in satisfactory condition.

Abbott was released from custody Friday on a $25,000 unsecured bond, set by Judge Richard Brosey. The bond is Abbott’s penalty if he fails to make a court appearance. His arraignment is scheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday.

According to charging documents, a video recording from within the Star Tavern shows Dvojack “stumble into the bar” and later walk up to Abbott, who points him out the door.

A bartender told police Dvojack propositioned her for sex.

A minor skirmish later ensued, with some light pushing and shoving between the two men. Dvojack gestured animatedly while talking and touched Abbott’s left bicep with the back of his right hand. Abbott reacted by “violently pushing Dvojack with both hands on Dvojack’s chest.”

Dvojack fell and hit his head. He did not move.

“The injury was not intended,” Wade Samuelson, an attorney representing Abbott, said in court, noting his client also called 911 to report the injury.

Abbott has no prior felony convictions.

At least nine people attended the hearing in support of Abbott.

Brosey prohibited Abbott from drinking and from attending establishments that serve spirits, beer or wine until the case is resolved.

Abbott previously was the owner of Chehalis CLS Communications, which closed in 2008 following extensive damage the 2007 flood wrought to inventory and the store. CLS specialized in selling cell phone services, home theater equipment, car stereos, Nextel radios, satellite television and radios and stadium-sized sound systems.

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