Deputy charged after accident

Deputy charged after accident »Play Video
BOISE - Local attorney Joe Filicetti said Tuesday that his client, an Ada County deputy, has been officially charged from an earlier incident this month.

Filicetti says Spencer Powers has been charged with driving under the influence and four counts of leaving the scene of an accident.

On Aug. 8, Meridian Police took Ada County Sheriff's Office deputy Spencer Powers to the hospital after he was allegedly involved in two hit and run accidents.

“I think this guy is getting crucified. I don't think people know the facts,” Filicetti said.

Authorities say Powers hit a couple of mailboxes and ran into cars in a Meridian neighborhood late Saturday night. Powers faces possible charges of hit and run and DUI, but Filicetti says Powers wasn't driving drunk - he was drugged.

“This is not a DUI case relating to alcohol,” Filicetti said. “It's relating to Ambien.”

Filicetti says his client was sleep driving because of the sleep prescription Ambien. Powers had come home from a barbecue the night of the accident, took an Ambien and was watching videos on You Tube.

"...And next thing he knows, someone is trying to wake him up, and he's in a vehicle. He doesn't remember anything from the moment he took his Ambien to that point.”

Asked if there was a difference between drunk driving and drugged driving, Filicetti said, “That will be up to the judge and jury.”

Many in the community are upset that Meridian Police didn't take Powers to jail after the accidents. Filicetti says Powers needed to go to the hospital, and officers made the right call.

Former Boise city councilman and 28-year police officer Vern Bisterfeldt says once cops arrest a suspect, the city picks up the tab for their medical bills in the hospital. It's common for officers to take a suspect to the hospital first and arrest them afterward.

In Powers' case, a blood sample was taken at the hospital and sent for testing, so it also didn't make a lot of sense for police to charge the deputy before they actually knew he was intoxicated.

And, Filicetti adds, “A lot of times they (suspects) would get arrested. If there's a threat. This is a guy who is going to show up... It's the not the typical DUI, or the typical scene of an accident where someone knows what they're doing. He's in the middle of a dream basically when this stuff is happening.”

The Boise City Attorney's Office is handling the investigation in Spencer Powers' case. It says it will decide whether Powers will face charges sometime this week.