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The Times' criminal justice team looks behind the scenes and behind the headlines.

June 3, 2009 at 5:59 PM

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Vehicular assault suspect arrested after he assaults tree with his pickup

Posted by John de Leon

As the saying goes, justice is blind. But who knew it also had a sense of humor?

How else to explain the arrest of a Des Moines man, who was wanted on charges of vehicular assault and attempting to elude, after he plowed into a tree in Kent?

At 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Duane R. Stewart, 50, was driving on a suspended driver's license and allegedly under the influence of drugs while he was heading north on Highway 167, according to the State Patrol. As Stewart was approaching Highway 516, his pickup drifted off the road, drove 150 to 200 feet through thick grass and slammed into a tree. Stewart was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Stewart was booked into the King County Jail for suspicion of DUI, driving with a suspended license and multiple outstanding felony and misdemeanor warrants. He is currently being held on $90,675 bail.

On Nov. 3, 2007, Stewart was driving west on Interstate 90 when he drove off the freeway just west of Highway 18 and --- wait for it -- struck a tree. A 25-year-old passenger was seriously injured. The State Patrol says Stewart was DUI and driving recklessly. He was booked into King County Jail for investigation of vehicular assault and was granted a conditional release. Stewart never showed up to court and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

On Dec. 5, State Patrol troopers arrested Stewart in Kittitas County on felony eluding, possession of cocaine and reckless endangerment charges. He was released for medical purposes and never appeared for his court hearing. Another warrant was issued for Stewart's arrest.

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