Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Teacher pleads not guilty to DUI

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.


"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:

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