Deferred prosecution approved in Cole DUI case

Sunnyside School District Superintendent "Rick" Cole ordered to pay costs, serve five years probation

Attorney Alex Johnson, left, stands beside his client, Sunnyside School District Superintendent Richard “Rick” Dean Cole, during a March 17 drunken driving hearing.

Photo by Jennie McGhan
Attorney Alex Johnson, left, stands beside his client, Sunnyside School District Superintendent Richard “Rick” Dean Cole, during a March 17 drunken driving hearing.



— A Yakima County District Court judge today agreed to deferred prosecution of the local School District superintendent charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol on Jan. 23.

The DUI charge against Richard “Rick” Dean Cole, 63, of Sunnyside, will be dismissed in five years provided he doesn’t violate the terms of the deferred prosecution agreement and probation.

He could not be reached for comment.

A District Court official confirmed this afternoon that Cole was ordered to pay $450 in court fees and additional costs associated with deferred prosecution.

Cole will remain on probation for five years, she said, adding he is scheduled for a court hearing again Oct. 28.

The clerk did not provide information on the charges of operating a motor vehicle without ignition interlock or traffic violations of speeding (11 mph over the limit) and improper lane change. The ignition interlock charge stems from Cole’s arrest last June, also for driving while under the influence.

Cole appeared in court today with his attorney, Alex Johnson of Johnson and Johnson Law Firm after previously completing an outpatient treatment program for alcohol use.

He has served as superintendent for more than 16 years and is currently on paid leave pending his June 30 resignation, previously submitted and approved by the School Board.

He is using accumulated medical and personal leave, as well as paid administrative leave until that date, schools officials said.

Mac Chambers is currently serving as interim superintendent.

Current Zillah School District Superintendent Kevin McKay will take over Sunnyside schools leadership position July 1; He signed a $170,000 contract for the job last week.

McKay edged two other superintendent finalists — Highland School District Superintendent Mark Anderson and Union Gap School District Superintendent Kurt Hilyard — for the job.



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