Those driving on Interstate 5 in Washington’s Whatcom County during the early morning hours of October 4 likely had their commute disrupted by a car driving in a reckless manner. The man drove in the wrong direction—he was in the northbound lanes heading south—for 19 miles before hitting a roadblock and crashing into multiple vehicles.

Law enforcement officials tried multiple times to stop the wrong-way driver, but he kept proceeding. Finally, a state trooper requested a roadblock to stop the vehicle. Police officers set up the roadblock on I-5 in Mount Vernon, near Kincaid Street. The 28-year-old man from Covington drove right through it. He crashed into a semi truck and car on the other side.

The man got stuck inside his car and had to be removed by firefighters. The car was totaled. The man suffered injuries in the crash and was transported to a local hospital for medical treatment. He is now in police custody and facing charges of reckless driving and DUI.

What is Reckless Driving?

Washington State Law RCW 46.61.500 defines reckless driving as deliberately driving in a manner that disregards the safety of others. While this definition seems broad, it is different from distracted driving. So while driving and texting is unsafe, most drivers don’t try to purposely hurt others in the process. Therefore, it would not be considered reckless driving.

However, intentionally driving down the highway in the wrong direction for 19 miles is a type of reckless driving. Reckless driving is a gross misdemeanor punishable by 364 days in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. The person’s driver’s license may also be suspended for 30 days or longer.

Reckless driving often occurs when one is intoxicated. Therefore, if a person is convicted of a DUI and reckless driving, an ignition interlock device must also be installed on every vehicle the person drives.

Get Help for Your Criminal Case

A DUI comes with serious penalties, while a reckless driving charge comes with more latitude. It is possible to get a reckless driving charge reduced to a citation, but you need a strong criminal defense.

The criminal defense lawyers at the Nahajski Firm have decades of experience helping those accused of DUI, reckless driving and other criminal charges. We may be able to offer a solid defense to help reduce your penalties. To learn more about how we can help, schedule a free consultation by contacting the Nahajski Firm at (206) 621-0500.