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Driver in fatal Seaside crash drank heavily

Three times over the legal limit, prosecutor says
By Jack Heffernan

The Daily Astorian

Published on October 6, 2017 11:45AM

The woman charged with manslaughter in a fatal crash in Seaside on Saturday night had a high blood alcohol content, authorities said.

Ron Althoff

The woman charged with manslaughter in a fatal crash in Seaside on Saturday night had a high blood alcohol content, authorities said.

Corrissa Barnett’s blood alcohol content was more than three times the legal limit Saturday night when she allegedly crashed an SUV into a Seaside bus stop shelter, which killed one man and critically injured another.

The legal alcohol limit for drivers in Oregon is 0.08 percent. Roughly five hours after her arrest, Barnett recorded a blood alcohol content of 0.26 percent, Clatsop County Deputy District Attorney Dawn Buzzard said in court. The measurement indicates that she likely had a higher blood alcohol content at the time of the crash.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates a 160-pound man would need to consume seven alcoholic drinks in one hour to reach a blood alcohol content of 0.15 percent. That level of intoxication for a driver, the CDC has found, can lead to substantial impairment in vehicle control.

Barnett weighs 103 pounds, according to court documents.

In a 2014 drunken-driving arrest, Buzzard said, she recorded a blood alcohol content of 0.31 percent. The misdemeanor charge was dismissed after she completed a DUII diversion program.

Barnett was taken to a hospital after the Saturday night crash prior to being booked in Clatsop County Jail. People arrested in the county with a blood alcohol content of 0.25 percent or greater must be medically cleared before being taken to jail. These situations occur several times each month, Sheriff’s Office Lt. Matt Phillips said.

About 9 p.m. Saturday, Seaside Police responded to the scene of a woman possibly being assaulted with two minor children present at the home. Police also heard that someone connected to the disturbance may have been driving while highly intoxicated.

When officers came upon the 1999 Dodge Durango allegedly driven by Barnett, it was moving at a high rate of speed with the lights off. As they attempted to stop the SUV, it hit the police car before speeding off.

Shortly after, the SUV — driving northbound on U.S. Highway 101 — jumped a sidewalk outside of McDonald’s restaurant, struck a concrete light pole and slammed into a bus stop shelter occupied by two men. One man — Robert Miles, 42, of Hammond — died, while another — Abdirisak Mohamed, 41, of Longview, Washington — was critically injured.

“The car ended up almost hitting City Hall, but then she fled the car,” Buzzard said in court.

Witnesses pointed officers in the direction where Barnett reportedly fled and found her hiding behind bushes. Soon after, Barnett admitted to being the driver and drinking prior to the crash, according to an affidavit.

Barnett has been charged with first-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault, third-degree assault, strangulation, two counts of failure to perform the duties of a driver to injured persons and DUII. She remains in jail on a $500,000 bail. If convicted on all charges, she faces at least 16 years in prison. Her next scheduled court appearance is next week.


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