Bainbridge Island Review


UPDATE | More details released on Tawresey hit-and-run

Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer
March 7, 2012 · 12:34 PM

More details have come to light involving the arrest of School Board Director John Tawresey for an alleged hit-and-run and DUI.

A police report released Tuesday indicates that Tawresey joked when speaking with police and while taking field sobriety tests. When they first encountered him, police noted that he spoke clearly and that they didn't notice any loss of balance.

However, six witnesses at the scene insisted that he was too intoxicated to drive.

Tawresey said that he didn't realize he hit any vehicles, or that there even was a car next to him, but he did hear a "clunk" as he was backing up. He told police that he thought it was just the sound of his Ford F350 pickup truck, which he called a noisy vehicle.

One police officer at the scene recognized Tawresey from a prior hit-and-run incident in January.

"I did it again," he told the officer.

Witnesses said they watched as Tawresey hit a vehicle parked directly next to him as he backed out of his parking spot at the San Carlos restaurant. He then struck another vehicle directly behind him.

After Tawresey's truck hit the two vehicles, he attempted to drive out of the parking lot but witnesses physically blocked the exit and called 911. Tawresey told the witnesses that they didn't have to call police and that he would take responsibility.

When they remained on the phone with 911, Tawresey backed up his truck and tried to leave out the entrance to the parking lot but by this time one witness was able to move a car to block his path.

Tawresey then got out of this truck. Witnesses told police he was staggering and his speech was slurred.

After police spoke with employees at the restaurant, they discovered that Tawresey likely consumed up to three glasses of wine and a martini over the course of a two-hour dinner.

Tawresey initially refused to take field sobriety tests. He told police he felt that he shouldn't have to, but eventually agreed to the tests as long as he didn't "have to recite the alphabet backwards."

He did refuse to take a portable breath test, however, commenting that he had heard bad things about their accuracy and he didn't trust the machine.Tawresey had to stop one of the tests in which he had failed to stand on one leg. Police also observed him failing to say the alphabet and count correctly. He was then placed under arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol.

He did not go quietly.

"You should be arresting them," Tawresey said, referring to the witnesses, according to the police report. "They are drunker than I am."Tawresey also refused to take a breath test at the police station.

A court date has been scheduled for May 3. Tawresey has pleaded not guilty to DUI and hit-and-run charges.

Tawresey was elected to the school board in 2007 and was recently re-elected for another four-year term last November. He took a leave of absence from the board on March 2 in the wake of his arrest. He also teaches civil and environmental engineering courses as an affiliate professor at the University of Washington and is vice president of the Seattle firm KPFF Consulting Engineers.

Witnesses to the incident have declined to talk about the incident on the record.

Tawresey has not returned repeated calls for comment.


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