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Wednesday, June 08th, 2011
WENATCHEE — After a dramatic multi-vehicle accident that ended with his SUV embedded in a duplex, former Wenatchee City Councilman Steve May will be arraigned Friday on a charge of DUI.
May, 60, had three different antidepressant or anti-anxiety medications in his system after the April 16 crash, according to a police toxicology report, and told officers at the scene he suffered from “mental health issues.”
No one was badly injured in the series of collisions, in which May’s 2000 Dodge Durango rammed two other vehicles while southbound on North Western Avenue and forced one of them to smash into still another car. That last car, driven by an 83-year-old woman, came to rest atop a thigh-high landscape retaining wall.
Ralph Gargano surveys damage to his garage after a vehicle crashed into it Saturday morning.
May’s Durango then left the road and crashed through the empty garage of a duplex at 8 S. Western Ave., penetrating the wall into the adjoining garage. Police found May lying on the duplex lawn, where he told them he couldn’t remember anything about the accident. He later began to cry.
A pill bottle in May’s vehicle held tablets of the anti-anxiety medication clonazepam and the antidepressants trazodone and venlafaxine (marketed as Effexor). The same substances were found in his blood after a toxicology test by the Washington State Patrol lab, police records said.
May had no alcohol in his system when Breathalyzed two hours after the accident.
In interviews while he was being assessed at Central Washington Hospital, May said he’d been at the same hospital recently seeking treatment for depression, told investigators “I’m crazy,” and signed release documents with an X, according to police reports.
DUI is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by no more than a year in jail.
May is a co-founder of Lifeline Ambulance Inc., a former Ridge to River boardmember, and a City Council member from 1999 to 2005.
The crash took place on his 60th birthday. On May 27, he filed for personal bankruptcy, saying he planned to surrender his Skyline Drive home to creditors.
May’s crash is the second Wenatchee auto accident linked to mental illness in the last six months. In December, motorist John D. Logstrom, 24, crashed his car into the Sub Shop, 1021 N. Mission St. Court files characterized Logstrom as suffering from schizophrenia; he faces trial June 28 on a charge of DUI and reckless driving.