DUII offender imprisoned after 12th conviction

A self-admitted alcoholic was sent to prison this week following his 12th DUII conviction over a 35-year time span.

Tommy Waldon, 51, was sentenced on Thursday after being convicted of his latest DUII in an April 2 jury trial. He was ordered by Hood River Circuit Court Judge Paul Crowley to spend 45 months behind bars, followed by two years of post-prison supervision and payment of a $2,000 fine.

"You're a poster child for why there is now a felony DUII," said Crowley. "I really did hope about two years ago that you were going to pull it through but it's clear now that you're not."

Waldon was also given 30 days in the county jail for driving with a suspended license at the time of his latest arrest in Nov. of 2001. Crowley directed him to serve out his time at NORCOR before entering the state penitentiary. In addition, the judge permanently revoked Waldon's drivers license.

Hood River District Attorney John Sewell asked Crowley to take a hard stand against Waldon because of his long criminal history that included numerous failed treatment programs for drugs and alcohol abuse.

"I've always felt that my job is to try to protect this community and I don't think I'd be doing that job if I didn't ask for a tough sentence," said Sewell. "Mr. Waldon is a menace to this community and it's just a matter a time before he kills himself or somebody else."

To underscore that statement, he put Waldon's probation officer, James Bondurant, on the stand to testify about his long criminal history, including an attempted assault conviction in 1986 when he doused a police officer with gasoline and then attempted to set him on fire with a propane torch.

"He told me I could put him in jail all I wanted too but he would continue to use and abuse alcohol and/or controlled substances," said Bondurant, director of the county's community corrections department.

However, Kurt Peterson, Waldon's court-appointed attorney, objected to having previous criminal activity factored into the sentencing beyond the four DUII convictions within a 10 year period that raised the level of charges from a misdemeanor to a felony. He also said the penalty should not be more than the 30-month standard sentence for the crime.

"I don't think it's appropriate for the court to essentially double dip and further punish Mr. Waldon for something the legislature has already taken into account," said Peterson.

In his address to the court, Waldon asked Crowley to take into consideration that when he was sent to prison he would be unable to pay court fines from a Washington State case so would likely end up with more jail time upon his release.

"It looks like I'm going to be doing a lot of time either way," said Waldon.

"In my opinion a DUII is often an assault or manslaughter waiting to happen and the fact that you haven't run into or over someone or something and have 12 DUII's is absolutely incredible," said Crowley.

"What's most amazing to me about Mr. Waldon's life is that he's still alive," said Sewell.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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