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Sunnyside woman injured in one-car accident

Andrea M. Gonzales, 21, of Sunnyside was injured in a one-car accident that took place Wednesday on State Route 241, 15 miles north of Sunnyside.

According to the Washington State Patrol, Gonzales was traveling northbound on State Route 241 around 10:30 a.m. when she failed to negotiate her 1986 Chrysler New Yorker around a left curve. She then overcorrected and rolled her car, which landed on its side.

Gonzales was wearing a seatbelt, but was injured in the accident. She was transported by ambulance to Sunnyside Community Hospital.

Loophole closed to shore up DUI convictions

OLYMPIA - Gov. Gary Locke signed House Bill 3055 Monday, closing a loophole in the law allowing drunk drivers to avoid punishment for their crimes. HB 3055, which was sponsored by Rep. Jenea Holmquist (R-Moses Lake), protects the admissibility of breathalyzer tests as evidence in DUI cases.

"Prosecutors from throughout the state and law enforcement community were frustrated by the letter of the law that made it difficult for breathalyzer results to be used in DUI cases," Holmquist said. "The evidence was being thrown out based on the most trivial defense arguments, something as minor as the punctuation in the notice given to suspects when the tests were administered. This bill cleans up the statute so field sobriety tests can be administered and used as reliable evidence."

According to the Washington State Patrol, 95 percent of the more than 40,000 DUI arrests in Washington each year involve breath-alcohol tests. The bill clarifies the requirement of law enforcement officers to notify DUI offenders of their rights and obligations to consent to a breath test. Following the procedures spelled out in the bill, the breathalyzer test results will be admissible.

"Defendants can still raise questions about the significance of the breathalyzer test results, but they can't prevent the results from being introduced as evidence," Holmquist said. "This is a reasonable approve to justice that protects the rights of the defendant while ensuring that those who drink and drive are punished for this serious offense."

HB 3055 takes effect 90 days from the end of the 2004 session, which adjourned March 11.

Merit Resource Services offers scholarship opportunities

Merit Resource Services, a state-approved chemical dependency treatment agency, is offering two $1,000 scholarships to area students. The Howard Kelleher Lifetime Achievement Award scholarships are named after Kelleher to honor his dedication to helping individuals and families in Yakima County find recovery from drug and alcohol addictions.

The scholarship will be awarded based on a written essay. The title of the essay contest is "Are alcohol and drugs a problem in my school, how does it affect me and what help is available?"

The deadline to apply for the scholarship is May 17. For more information about the scholarship contact Merit Resource Services at 837-7700.

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