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Man suspected of threatening trooper’s family after DUI arrest pleads not guilty

Post by Stacia Glenn / The News Tribune on Jan. 17, 2013 at 10:19 am |
January 17, 2013 12:29 pm

It started as a routine drunken driving arrest.

A Washington State Patrol trooper was checking on a suspected drunken driver sitting on the side of Interstate 5 in Tillicum about 2 a.m. Tuesday.

The car was still running, the trooper spotted a 40 ounce beer can inside and “the odor of intoxicants was so strong it made Trooper Chatterton sick to his stomach,” according to court documents.

The driver handed the trooper a Texas identification and retired military ID. He was allegedly swaying in his seat and slurring his words.

After a breathalyzer showed the man to be legally drunk, the trooper put him in the back of his patrol car and headed for the main gate at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The trooper planned to release the man to his brother after processing him for a DUI.

But then the man started talking from the backseat.

“The defendant stated that he was going to come and get Trooper Chatterton and Trooper Chatterton’s family and how he was going to make Trooper Chatterton regret arresting the defendant,” charging papers state.

On Wednesday, 32-year-old Erwin Wright pleaded not guilty to felony harassment and driving under the influence. Bail was set at $15,000.

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