Lincoln County sheriff pleads guilty to criminal assistance
Lincoln County sheriff pleads guilty to criminal assistance

Source: Google News

Lincoln County Sheriff Wade Magers pleaded guilty to rendering criminal assistance on Wednesday. He reportedly didn’t take his son to the hospital after a DUI crash.

LINCOLN COUNTY, Wash. — Former Lincoln County Sheriff Wade Magers pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges relating to his role in trying to cover up his son’s alleged drinking and driving incident from last year.

Mager’s son was involved in a vehicle rollover near the Creston intersection at approximately 10 p.m. on Feb. 11, 2021. Immediately after the crash, court documents state Magers contacted his brother, who picked him up from the crash scene. He then contacted his girlfriend and told her he was on his way to his parent’s house.

Magers’ son’s girlfriend and her friend then drove from their house to his house. At approximately 1:42 a.m. the following day, Magers’ son called Lincoln County dispatch to report the crash and told deputies he would remove the car later that day.

According to documents, he reportedly told dispatch that he swerved to miss a deer and ran off the road.

Deputies went to the scene of the crash on Feb. 12, 2021. One deputy walked around the scene and noticed the tire marks and path of the car were not consistent with a swerving vehicle. Deputies did not see or smell anything indicating alcohol was involved in the crash.

At 2:30 a.m. the following day, deputies called Magers to see if he knew where his son was. Magers told deputies he believed his son went to a hospital in Davenport or Grand Coulee to seek treatment.

The deputy who responded to the scene attempted to contact Magers’ son that same day but could not do so until Feb. 13, 2021. During their conversation, Magers’ son admitted that he didn’t swerve to avoid hitting a dear but was reaching for his phone when he drove off the road. He told the deputy that he was speeding but denied using drugs or alcohol, resulting in him getting a citation for speeding.

That same day, Magers’ son’s girlfriend contacted LCSO and made two allegations: Magers told her and his son to tell police that he swerved to hit a deer and that Magers and his wife refused to let their son seek medical attention until his blood alcohol content (BAC) was zero.

It is important to note that Magers’ son is above the legal drinking age and has never been formally charged with driving under the influence in relation to this crash.

Magers’ son’s girlfriend told deputies that she believed Magers’ son might have had internal injuries from the crash that he was prevented from getting checked out. She told deputies, “If anyone asks, I did not know about this and I was never here.”

The Grant County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) was contacted by LCSO Undersheriff Kelly Watkins on Feb. 17, 2021, and “requested to conduct an administrative investigation into the allegations” made by Magers’ son’s girlfriend. A Grant County detective began the investigation by conducting interviews with Magers’ son, his girlfriend and one of their friends. Those interviews “provided insight into the strained relationship” between Magers and his son, according to documents.

The deputy later contacted Magers to ask if he would provide a statement regarding the incident, which he declined to do. At the end of the investigation, the deputy concluded Magers could potentially be charged with obstructing a law enforcement officer, making a false or misleading statement to a public servant and third-degree rendering criminal assistance.

In April 2021, Magers’ son was contacted by deputies once again. He told deputies that the crash left him with four broken ribs, a compression fracture of one of his lower vertebrae, a pinhole puncture in his left lung and bruising from his left hip to his knee. He said he never felt anything related to his back injury and that doctors said the damage was in an area that would not affect his spine.

During that same interview, Magers’ son told deputies that he was not honest about the cause of the crash because he worried about his and his father’s jobs. He then admitted that he consumed at least eight 16-ounce beers before driving and that drinking and driving too fast was the leading cause of the crash.

Magers’ son went on to tell deputies that on the night of the crash, his parents asked him if he wanted to go to the hospital but did not go out of their way to get him there. The day after the crash, Magers asked his son again if he wanted to go to the hospital and he said yes. Magers then said, “Alright, well, let’s get you cleaned up and, you know, make sure that you’re okay here.” His son told detectives that was his father’s way of saying, “Let’s sober you up.”

When asked if Magers prevented him from going to the hospital, his son told detectives he believed his father did because he was not coherent enough to know the severity of his injuries and that his father should have taken him to the hospital regardless.

One of Magers’ son’s friends told detectives she heard someone tell Magers that his son needed to go to the hospital and Magers said no.

The case file was submitted for peer review and supervisory approval before being sent to the Franklin County Prosecutor for review on May 10, 2021.

Magers retired from his role as sheriff in June 2022. He began his career with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) when he was hired as a patrol deputy in 1990. He also served as a marine enforcement deputy and firearms instructor before being promoted to undersheriff in 1999. 

He was one of the longest-serving sheriffs in the state of Washington and the longest-serving law enforcement officer in Lincoln County history.

Magers pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one count of rendering criminal assistance in the third degree. He was sentenced to 40 hours of community service, which he has one year to complete.

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