Driver pleads not guilty after fatal car crash

By Nicholas Johnson of the Leader
Posted 6/16/15

An Adelma Beach man facing vehicular homicide and vehicular assault charges pleaded not guilty on Friday, June 12 in Jefferson County Superior Court.

Jefferson County prosecutors charged Taylour …

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Driver pleads not guilty after fatal car crash

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An Adelma Beach man facing vehicular homicide and vehicular assault charges pleaded not guilty on Friday, June 12 in Jefferson County Superior Court.

Jefferson County prosecutors charged Taylour J. Eldridge, 25, on June 4, more than five months after a fatal vehicle crash.

According to the Washington State Patrol, Eldridge was driving his 2006 Chevrolet pickup eastbound up Eaglemount Hill toward Port Townsend when his vehicle left State Route 20 just past milepost 1 shortly before 1:29 a.m., Jan. 17, going over an embankment, striking a tree and landing on its side.

Having suffered a broken neck and a brain hemorrhage, passenger Gregory W. Bolling, 23, of Port Townsend died at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle two days after the Jan. 17 crash, while fellow passenger Amelia R. Syska-Patten, 20, of Port Townsend suffered a broken back, according to Washington State Patrol Detective Joi Haner.

Syska-Patten was also hospitalized, and released the next day. Eldridge was treated at Harborview for a broken pelvis.

Unlike Eldridge and Syska-Patten, Bolling was not wearing a seat belt, as he was seated on the two-seat vehicle's center console, according to Haner's investigative report.

Eldridge appeared June 12 before Superior Court Commissioner Stephen Gillard rather than Judge Keith Harper, who had earlier recused himself from the case.

Eldridge has requested a jury trial, which is set for Sept. 14-17. He is next due in court on July 31. Eldridge is being represented by attorney James A. Doros of Port Hadlock.

Eldridge's jury trial would take place before a visiting judge from a neighboring county, court administrator Michelle Lorand said.

In the meantime, Eldridge is not in county custody, but must abide by conditions of release set by the court.

According to court documents, he must remain at the Adelma Beach home where he currently resides, and by 5 p.m., June 16, he must be under the purview of an electronic home monitoring device. He is also not allowed to consume alcohol or drugs, to refuse blood or urine tests, or to operate a motor vehicle without having a license, insurance and an ignition interlock device.

According to Haner's report, the group left 7 Cedars Casino in Blyn just before 1 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 17 and went to the Longhouse Market, where video from the market confirmed that Bolling and Eldridge had purchased a six-pack of beer and a bottle of wine before continuing southbound on U.S. Highway 101 toward SR 20.

Eldridge's blood-alcohol content at the time of the rollover accident was 0.135, according to Haner's report.

Bolling was a member of the Chimacum High School Class of 2009. Eldridge was in the CHS Class of 2008. The two had more recently worked together in Alaska, and both had intended to return there for the 2015 commercial fishing season.

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