Suspect Accused of Driving While High, Hitting Pedestrian Held on $1 Million Bail


By Natalie Johnson/

A driver accused of hitting and seriously injuring a pedestrian after jumping a curb on South Gold Street Wednesday was allegedly under the influence of drugs at the time, according to court documents.

The driver, Christian D. Brown, 30, of Centralia, made his first appearance in Lewis County Superior Court Thursday on charges of vehicular assault and possession of heroin.

Superior Court Judge Andrew Toynbee imposed $1 million bail at Brown’s first court appearance, following a request from the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office’s, noting that Brown is accused of driving while high while out on $100,000 bail on pending Lewis County Drug charges, including an allegation that he dealt heroin.

“He’s violated his conditions of release on a pending case. The $100,000 bail was not enough to secure his compliance on a court order,” Toynbee said. “That’s not even considering the seriousness of yesterday’s offense for which he is in court today.”

According to court documents, officers with the Centralia Police Department responded at 12:24 p.m. Wednesday to the 1900 block of South Gold Street, near the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds, after receiving a report of a vehicle colliding with a pedestrian.

The first officer arrived and found an unconscious man lying face down on the sidewalk on the east side of the road.

An aid crew arrived and the man reportedly regained consciousness while being treated. He was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital and airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle in serious but stable condition, according to the Riverside Fire Authority.

His current condition is unknown. His identity had not been released.

The officer then contacted the driver, identified as Brown. He reported that Brown was “extremely fidgety” and had bloodshot, watery eyes, according to court documents.

Witnesses at the scene reported seeing the vehicle Brown was driving, a green Acura passenger car, traveling down Gold Street at approximately 35 miles per hour when it jumped the curb, drove on the sidewalk and hit the pedestrian. Witnesses saw Brown’s vehicle stop and the victim fall off the hood, according to court documents.

The vehicle’s windshield was shattered and caved in after the incident.

Police arrested Brown on suspicion of vehicular assault and a search of his possessions reportedly discovered two pocket knives, one of which contained residue from a substance identified as heroin, according to court documents.

A drug recognition expert responded and evaluated Brown at the Washington State Patrol detachment in Chehalis where he determined Brown was likely under the influence of narcotics and stimulants, according to court documents.

Brown then reportedly told officers he had used methamphetamine that day and heroin the day before.

Police executed a search warrant for a blood sample from Brown and are waiting for the results.

Deputy Prosecutor Paul Masiello asked for $1 million bail for Brown Thursday after giving Toynbee a summary the events of the previous day as well as of Brown’s criminal history.

Brown was charged April 13 with possession of heroin with intent to deliver and possession of methamphetamine after an investigation by the Lewis County Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team, which suspected him to be dealing heroin on a large scale in the county, according to court documents.

He was arrested and charged with three other suspects.

At his first hearing in that case on April 13, he was granted $100,000 bail, which he posted the following day.

That case is still ongoing. A hearing to set a trial date is scheduled for next Thursday.

Masiello noted numerous previous convictions, including theft and possession of controlled substances.

“In total, he has had 31 warrants on his 36 cases,” he said.

Since being released on $100,000 in his April drug case, he has also been charged in a drug-related case and posted bail in Oregon, Masiello told the judge.

Brown’s arraignment on his new charges is scheduled for next Thursday.