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Car crashes in police chase

An alleged drunk driver who drove in the wrong lane and went through red lights on North Whidbey last month crashed his car when trying to flee from police, court documents state.

Prosecutors charged 47-year-old James Baher in Island County Superior Court April 13 with attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle, driving under the influence, DUI — BAC refusal and driving without an ignition interlock device.

Baher could face up to a year in jail if convicted of the charges.

Island County Deputy Brent Durley responded to a report of a possible DUI at 8 p.m. on Highway 20 at Frostad Road March 27. He found the car, a green Ford Escort, traveling erratically on Heller Road.

Durley wrote that the car continually swerved into the oncoming lane and went through a red light at the intersection of Heller and Crosby roads. The deputy turned on his emergency light and siren, but the driver, later identified as Baher, did not yield.

“The vehicle continued to severely weave across the roadway from fog line to fog line,” Durley wrote.

Baher drove through another red light at the intersection of Heller Road and Whidbey Avenue, then continued in the wrong lane of travel, Durley wrote. Finally, Baher swerved into the ditch and the car stopped.

According to Durley’s report, Baher smelled of “intoxicants,” had slurred speech and had a hard time keeping his balance as he walked to the police car.

In addition, Durley wrote that Baher was required to have an ignition interlock device on his car, but the Escort didn’t have one.

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