OKANOGAN – Washington State Patrol (WSP) Trooper Conner Bruchman sustained minor injuries when he was rear-ended by an impaired driver on US 97 near Okanogan on Sunday, Dec, 10, 2017, at about 6:10 p.m.
Trooper Bruchman was northbound at about 55 miles per hour, following slower traffic, when 18- year-old Dakota Simpson of Okanogan, also northbound, rear-ended Trooper Bruchman. Bruchman was treated and released at Mid Valley Hospital in Okanogan and will be recovering at home for the next couple days, according to the State Patrol.
Simpson was not injured and was arrested for Driving Under the Influence. A Drug Recognition Expert conducted an evaluation of Simpson and concluded he was under the influence of cannabis and a depressant at the time of the collision, according to a press release from the Washington State Patrol. He was booked into Okanogan County Jail for DUI.
“The WSP strictly enforces DUI laws. WSP focuses not only on drunk drivers, but also those under the influence of prescription or illegal drugs. Please use a designated driver, call a friend, or use a taxi to get home safely. If you see a driver you believe to be DUI, call 911 with the vehicles description and direction of travel,” reads the release.
The Drug Evaluation and Classification Program (DEC) began in February 1996. Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) are trained to recognize the symptoms of intoxication from seven different categories of drugs (Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants, CNS Stimulants, Hallucinogens, Dissociative Anesthetics, Narcotic Analgesics, Inhalants and Cannabis). A 12-step standardized process is used to identify drug impairment. The Washington State Patrol provides training to both troopers and officers from local law enforcement agencies. The WSP has 90 Drug Recognition Experts throughout the state and has trained numerous other DREs for different agencies.