By Natalie Johnson / firstname.lastname@example.org
A driver accused of vehicular assault in an allegedly drug-related crash that injured three people Thursday in Centralia is being held on $250,000 bail after a Lewis County deputy prosecutor and Superior Court Judge Joely O’Rourke expressed concerns about community safety.
“A vehicular assault when there’s an allegation regarding drug use is one of the most threatening things to community safety, in my opinion,” O’Rourke said Friday.
Terry J. Burge, 35, of Centralia, made his first appearance Friday in Lewis County Superior Court on suspicion of vehicular assault and possession of methamphetamine.
Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Joel DeFazio asked for the high bail amount citing the nature of the charges as well as Burge’s five felony convictions in the past seven years.
According to court documents, the crash was reported just before 9 a.m. Thursday at the intersection of Pearl and West Third streets in Centralia.
First-arriving units found a red Ford F-150 on Third Street collided with a white Chevrolet truck on Pearl Street.
Burge, the driver of the Ford, and one of his two passengers were unconscious when police arrived. Both were extricated from the vehicle using hydraulic extrication equipment, according to the Riverside Fire Authority.
The third passenger self-extricated himself from the vehicle and gave a statement to officers.
According to court documents, he reported Burge was giving him and the female passenger a ride to B Street in Centralia. He told police Burge drove through numerous stop signs while driving through town.
The one occupant of the white truck refused aid at the scene.
A bus driver who witnessed the incident reported the Ford was going 40 to 50 miles per hour when it ran through the intersection and hit the other truck, according to court documents.
“Suspected drugs were found in the area of the driver’s seat as well as on Mr. Burge’s person when he arrived at the hospital,” said Centralia Police Sgt. David Clary Thursday. “One of the passengers of the vehicle also advised Burge was running stop signs prior to the crash.”
Officers began investigating and found a safe that they believed came out of the red truck in the crash. The safe broke open and police found drug paraphernalia and methamphetamine among its contents, according to court documents.
Burge and his female passenger were taken to Providence Centralia Hospital.
“His passenger was pretty badly hurt with a face laceration,” Clary said.
She also has possible facial fractures, according to court documents.
Medical staff reported finding a pipe in Burge’s possession. Officers field-tested the pipe and found it tested positive for methamphetamine. Police obtained a warrant for a blood test.
The collision caused heavy front-end damage to the red truck. The white truck sustained passenger side and front-end damage. The white truck and trailer was hauling landscaping equipment, according to the RFA.
Burge’s next court hearing is scheduled for Thursday.