Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Judge holds felony traffic court

Trials set in DUI and felony-eluding cases


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Jury trials have been scheduled for early next year for three men charged with felony driving crimes. Two of the defendants are charged with felony DUI for alleged repeat drunk-driving offenses, while the third is charged with felony eluding of a police officer.

All three men pleaded not guilty at arraignment Monday in Blaine County 5th District Court. Judge Robert J. Elgee advised the defendants that felony DUI is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and that felony eluding is punishable by up to five years behind bars.

Gordon Chase Dawson

Gordon Chase Dawson, a 51-year-old Hailey man, was charged with felony DUI because of two prior misdemeanor drunk-driving convictions within the past 10 years.

According to a criminal complaint filed against him, Dawson was convicted of misdemeanor DUI in Blaine County in 2008 and 2010.

His latest alleged offense occurred on the evening of Sept. 25 when he was arrested by Ketchum police on state Highway 75 near its intersection with Elkhorn Road.

Ketchum Patrolman Curt Plassmeyer wrote in a probable-cause affidavit that he pulled Dawson over for driving 45 mph in a 35-mph speed zone. Plassmeyer wrote that Dawson smelled of alcohol and failed three field sobriety tests.

Jury trial was scheduled to begin on March 13. Dawson is currently free on $7,500 bond. He is represented by Hailey attorney Douglas Nelson.

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Scott Mitchell Miskell

Jury trial was scheduled for April 24 for Scott Mitchell Miskell, a 29-year-old Sun Valley man charged with felony DUI for an arrest by Ketchum police in October.

According to a criminal complaint filed against him, Miskell was convicted of misdemeanor DUI in Blaine County in 2006 and in Fulton County, Ga., in 2009.

Miskell's latest arrest was on the evening of Oct. 2 on Saddle Road in north Ketchum.

Ketchum Patrolman Tony Atienza wrote in a probable-cause affidavit that he pulled Miskell over around 10:30 p.m. for making an "improper right turn" onto Saddle Road from state Highway 75. Atienza wrote that Miskell made the turn too wide, crossing the center line and ending up in a designated turn lane.

Atienza further wrote that Miskell smelled of alcohol and failed three field sobriety tests.

Miskell is currently free on $5,000 bond. He is represented by Nelson under the Roark Law Firm's public defender contract with Blaine County.

Miguel Meza-Rojas

Miguel Meza-Rojas, a 28-year-old Hailey man, has been charged with felony eluding for allegedly failing to stop his vehicle when signaled to do so by a police officer and instead driving through alleys and streets of the west downtown Ketchum area at speeds estimated in excess of 50 mph.

Meza-Rojas is also accused by Immigration and Customs Enforcement of being in the United States illegally.

Ketchum Patrolman Atienza wrote in a probable-cause affidavit that he turned on his emergency lights to stop Meza-Rojas after he noticed that the registration was expired on a black Honda Civic that the suspect was driving. Atienza wrote that he first encountered Meza-Rojas at the intersection of Main Street and Sun Valley Road, that he pursued the suspect with siren blaring down an alley and several streets, and that the suspect then stopped his car, abandoned it and fled on foot on the west end of Fourth Street.

Atienza wrote that Meza-Rojas was identified and later arrested by documents found in the suspect's vehicle.

Meza-Rojas remains incarcerated in the Blaine County jail on $25,000 bond. Jury trial was scheduled to begin on April 4. He is represented by Ketchum attorney Lori Nakaoka.

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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