News

Tawresey cuts deal with prosecutor to amend DUI, hit-and-run charges

The city of Bainbridge Island and the Kitsap County Prosecutor's Office have reached a pre-trial agreement with John Tawresey to dismiss hit-and-run charges against the former school board member and amend a charge of driving under the influence to first-degree negligent driving.

The diversion agreement, approved Monday by Judge Kathryn Carruthers in Bainbridge Island Municipal Court, requires Tawresey to have no criminal violations over the next three years, attend a DUI victim's panel, obtain a chemical dependency evaluation from a state-certified agency, take a six-hour defensive driving class, and not drive a vehicle while having an alcohol concentration of .03 or more (or within two hours of driving).

Tawresey was also ordered to pay restitution, and court costs of $800.

Tawresey was arrested Feb. 29 by Bainbridge Island Police after he hit two other vehicles with his Ford F350 pickup truck near San Carlos Restaurant on Madison Avenue. Witnesses said he tried to leave the scene after the accident, but bystanders blocked his exit until officers arrived.

Tawresey, 70, resigned from his position on the Bainbridge Island School Board within days of his arrest.

During a brief court appearance July 2, Paul Cullen, Tawresey's attorney, said his client had already completed most of the conditions spelled out in the agreement.

Under the terms of the deal, Tawresey must stay out of criminal trouble for three years.

The Kitsap County Prosecutor's Office will then amend the DUI charge to a first-degree negligent driving charge, with Tawresey entering a guilty plea at a later hearing.

Negligent driving in the first degree has a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine, plus court costs and assessments.

The prosecutor's office recommended 90 days in jail with the 90-day sentence suspended for two years; and a $1,000 fine with $1,000 suspended.

Under the agreement, Tawresey waived his right to a trial and his rights to contest any evidence that is presented in the case.

If he violates the agreement, Tawresey can be found guilty without a jury trial.

Monday's hearing was short, running less than 15 minutes.

"I've been over the agreement with Mr. Tawresey several times," Cullen told the judge. "I'm sure he's aware of the benefits of the agreement."

Tawresey did not speak during the hearing, except when giving one- or two-word answers to the judge's questions.

Carruthers asked if he read and understood the agreement.

"Do you understand everything you are signing up for here?" Carruthers asked.

"Hope so," Tawresey answered.

"Do you also understand all the constitutional rights you are giving up by signing the agreement?" Carruthers asked.

"Yes," he said.

The judge also acknowledged Tawresey had already undergone a chemical dependency evaluation and had attended a DUI victim's panel.

"I hope those were useful programs for you," she said.

"Very interesting, yes," Tawresey said.

The judge then gave Tawresey 90 days to complete a defensive driving class.

Tawresey paid his court costs before leaving the courthouse.

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