Prosecutor wants further review before filing charges in teen crash


Sequim Gazette staff

Elijah Sanford will have to wait a little longer to learn the charges, if any, that will be filed against him.


Sanford, 18, a resident of Sequim, was arrested on Nov. 24 following a car crash that resulted in serious injuries to Cailey Stipe, a 15-year-old Sequim resident.


Garrett Payton, a 19-year-old from Port Angeles, also was in the car and suffered a broken arm and lacerations to his head.


Sanford was booked into Clallam County jail for driving under the influence, possession of marijuana, reckless driving and two counts of vehicular assault.


He was released without bail and was ordered to appear in Superior Court on Dec. 2 to be charged.


Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John Trobert declined to file formal charges, saying the “state will let law enforcement complete their investigation before making a charging decision on this potential vehicular assault case.”


He said the prosecutor’s office would defer a filing decision until a full review of reports on the cause of the wreck, including toxicology results, has been made. He said he also wanted more information on the severity of the injuries to the victims of the wreck.


Trobert said Sanford would not be required to provide bail. “Mr. Sanford is a local resident with no prior criminal history, so it is expected he will appear for court when summoned.”


The police report describing the event says that at a little before 2 a.m. Sanford was driving a Volkswagen Golf eastbound on Heuhslein Road. As the car approached Spring Road, Sanford lost control of the vehicle. After leaving the road, the vehicle rolled several times.


Stipe, who was sitting in the back seat and was not wearing a seat belt, was thrown from the vehicle and suffered injuries to her lungs, jaw, tongue, clavicle, arm and hand.


Sanford was found with marijuana and admitted to drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana earlier that night.


Sanford volunteered to provide a breath sample, which showed a .055 blood alcohol concentration. The Washington limit is .08 BAC.


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