Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Teacher pleads not guilty to DUI


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

A Wood River Middle School teacher pleaded not guilty Monday to a felony charge of driving under the influence.

Jonah J. Torseth, a 33-year-old Hailey resident, entered his plea at arraignment in Blaine County 5th District Court. Torseth was charged with aggravated DUI, a felony, because he allegedly struck and injured a pedestrian while driving intoxicated in downtown Hailey on Dec. 30.

Judge Robert J. Elgee advised Torseth that the crime is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and has a minimum sentence of 30 days in jail. The crime also carries a mandatory loss of driving privileges for one year and a fine of up to $5,000.

Torseth, through his attorney Douglas Nelson, requested a jury trial.

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"Judge (Barry) Wood will have to set it for trial," Elgee said.

Though Elgee handled the arraignment, he has removed himself as presiding judge in the case because of a disqualification motion filed against him by the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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