Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

May 25, 2012

Injury crash provokes felony charge

TAHLEQUAH — Prosecutors have charged a Tahlequah man for his alleged role in causing a crash that put another man on life support.

The charges stem from a May 18 crash at the intersection of the State Highway 51 West bypass and Vinita.

Edmundo Salinas, 25, is charged with a felony count of being a person involved in a personal injury crash while under the influence of alcohol or intoxicating liquor, which resulted in “great bodily injury. He also drew misdemeanor counts of transporting an open container of beer, no valid driver’s license, failure to display headlights when required, and driving left of center.

Kevin Stovall, the driver of the truck with which Salinas collided, was placed on life support and listed in critical condition following the crash, according to court documents.

Tahlequah Officer Jason Girdner’s report of the incident shows he arrived at the scene of the crash to find a Pontiac car with severe damage, as well as a damaged truck that was turned on its side.

Salinas had been driving the Pontiac car, and Stovall was in the truck, according to the report. Both drivers were trapped inside their vehicles when officers arrived, and were later freed by Tahlequah firefighters.

Prosecutors allege Salinas was driving his truck with only the parking lights activated when the crash occurred at around 11:30 p.m. He was driving on the wrong side of the highway when his vehicle struck Stovall’s, police said.

Girdner said he could smell a strong odor of alcohol on Salinas and inside the car he was driving.

Salinas also allegedly had an open bottle of Corona beer in the car, and had “glassy eyes and lethargic movements,” Girdner said.

Officers requested a blood test on Salinas due to Stovall’s critical condition, but Salinas resisted when EMS personnel tried to get that sample at the scene of the crash, Girdner said.

Police shut down both lanes of the bypass so medical helicopters could land and fly both Salinas and Stovall to a Tulsa hospital. Girdner traveled to Tulsa to have blood drawn on Salinas.

Medical personnel at the hospital also told Girdner that Stovall had abdominal bleeding, a fractured pelvis, and bleeding on his brain, and was going into surgery.

Court records show a warrant has been issued for Salinas’ arrest.

The felony count of being involved in a crash that caused great bodily injury, while under the influence of alcohol or liquor, is punishable by one to five years in a state prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

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