Salkum Driver Faces Vehicular Assault Charge After Crash on His Way Home From Bar

By The Chronicle

A Salkum man is facing a felony charge after allegedly causing a crash that injured a second driver Friday while under the influence of alcohol.

Rodney D. Trueblood, 71, of Salkum, was charged Monday in Lewis County Superior Court with one count of vehicular assault.

Superior Court Judge Joely O’Rourke imposed $25,000 bail at Trueblood’s preliminary hearing in the case Monday, half of the amount proposed by Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher. 

Defense attorney Rachael Tiller asked that Trueblood be released to family, citing medical conditions and concerns about Trueblood’s mental state and competency to participate in hearings. 

O’Rourke said she wanted Trueblood to at least have a chance to meet with his court-appointed attorney prior to his release. 

“We can reevaluate that (amount for) Mr. Trueblood at the arraignment and trial setting this Thursday,” she said. 

According to court documents, a trooper with the Washington State Patrol responded at 2:47 p.m. Friday to a report of a two-vehicle collision at milepost 79 of U.S. Highway 12. 

The trooper found one truck in the road with its occupant sitting on the tailgate. That driver reported he was heading eastbound when a second vehicle pulled out in front of him. He reported that he had chest and ankle pain. Troopers later learned his ankle was broken in the crash.

The trooper found a second vehicle, with Trueblood in the driver’s seat and a woman in the passenger’s seat, in a ditch. Trueblood appeared to be confused, and admitted to drinking three to four beers, according to court documents

He said he was driving home from a nearby bar.

Trueblood was taken to a local hospital where a warrant was issued for a sample of his blood.