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  • Int-Oxley-cated: More Facts Emerge in Denny Ray II DUI Case… The Passenger Just Vanishes

    Two more stories in the Courier-Journal today on Dennie Oxley’s drunken joyride over the weekend.

    First:

    Former state Rep. Dennie Oxley of English said yesterday that he “made an error in judgment” involving a car crash that resulted in his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving.

    Oxley’s blood-alcohol concentration after the incident Friday night was 0.17 percent, more than twice the 0.08 level at which a person is presumed to be intoxicated under Indiana law, according to a report by the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department.

    “I take full responsibility. I make no excuses, and I expect no special treatment,” Oxley said in a statement.

    The 38-year-old Democrat, who gave up his House seat to run for lieutenant governor last year, expressed relief that no one was injured when his car struck a parked vehicle in Taswell.

    “I know that I have let folks down,” he said. “I simply want them to know that I will work every day to earn back their confidence.”

    Chief Deputy Andy Beals of the Crawford County sheriff’s department said Oxley, who was traveling with a passenger, was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated with a blood-alcohol content of greater than 0.15 percent and driving while intoxicated with endangering a person.

    Both charges are Class A misdemeanors.

    Oxley, driving a 2007 Chevrolet Impala, struck a parked 1992 Ford Explorer, doing between $10,000 and $25,000 damage to the two vehicles, according to the report.

    Oxley is scheduled to appear in Crawford Circuit Court on Thursday on the official charges, which had not been filed late yesterday.

    Oxley was released from the county jail and did not need to be hospitalized. The crash report did not give any information on his passenger, and the sheriff’s department refused to release that information.

    Where to begin?

    I’d like to have a 1992 Explorer that could have $10,000 to $25,000 in damage done to it without being totalled. That must be some Explorer. And if the damage is that bad–on virtually any car–you’re talking not just some fender bender or light impact. You’re generally talking about a vehicle that has been rendered a total loss by a pretty significant encounter with another car (earlier speculation about a sporty luxury import can be dispelled; Oxley wrecked a Chevy Impala). One also has to logically think that the Impala, being a car, probably took even more damage than the Explorer, being an SUV.

    I wonder how fast he was driving and if the airbag deployed on his car from the impact.

    More importantly, the 0.17 level is over twice the legal limit (a legal limit that Oxley opposed in 1998 but voted to establish in 2001).

    Notice the amount of discussion in the aforementioned article (and in prior articles as well, here, here, and here) concerning the passenger.

    Well, in its second story, the Courier-Journal says that this passenger, well, was disappeared. Or never existed in the first place. Or something.

    (Read more after the leap)

    Former state Rep. Dennie Oxley did not have any passengers in his car when he hit a parked SUV in Taswell and was arrested on suspicion of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, the Crawford County sheriff said today.

    Oxley, 38, who was last year’s Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, was arrested Friday night on suspicion of driving while intoxicated with a blood-alcohol content of greater than 0.15 percent and driving while intoxicated with endangering a person.

    Despite the latter charge, however, Sheriff Tim Wilkerson said Oxley was traveling alone. Wilkerson said the officer who made the arrest had worked previously in a tourist community where the endangering charge is routinely included in suspected drunken driving cases when a crash is involved.

    However, the sheriff said, that is not traditionally done in Crawford County.

    “In our investigation, there’s no proof there was anyone else” in Oxley’s vehicle, Wilkerson said.

    Reports yesterday cited Chief Deputy Andy Beals as saying Oxley had a passenger. However, Beals said today that was a mistake.

    Something smells here.

    And it’s not the sudden change of phrasing in all of the reporting from earlier concrete talk of hard facts to “suspicion” of the same earlier-reported facts.

    Well, that smells too. But there’s other stuff that smells more.

    After so much mention of a passenger, in a wreck that caused considerable damage to at least one car (and probably Oxley’s as well), the passenger suddenly doesn’t exist at all.

    And the very people that told us that the passenger existed earlier this very same day (see above story) now say that the passenger never existed, and that the officer on the scene made a mistake.

    Moreover, the inclusion of the endangering charge is not something confined merely to tourist communities. It’s used in such tourist destination spots as Jeffersonville. Which, as everyone who is not from Kentucky knows, is very far from Crawford County.

    Back in 2007, I blogged about a candidate for city court judge in Jeffersonville that had a similar endangering charge filed against them (he later pled it down). There was no vehicle accident in that case; the incident happened in town.

    Yet in Crawford County, where Oxley hit another car in town (though the car parked, it could have easily had a person in it or he could have hit a person or a moving car instead), this charge is strangely not “traditionally” made.

    See the logical disconnect here? If the charge is routine enough for the folks at the sheriff’s department and the officer to know about it and to know to make it (at least outside of Crawford County, “traditionally”), it’s routine enough for a distinction to be made about the presence (or absence) of a passenger.

    Yet the passenger is explicitly mentioned in the reporting and by the police themselves, along with a strict refusal to comment about the passenger’s identity. Then, suddenly, the passenger not exist after all; the article makes no mention about whether the endangering charge will be filed or not.

    And then we get to the whole “that’s not traditionally done in Crawford County” line. Granted, Tim Wilkerson is a Republican, so I don’t expect him to cut Oxley any favors (that would be for the prosecutor, more likely if at all; assuming they don’t go to a special judge and prosecutor due to conflicts).

    But that’s just a loaded statement coming out of somebody in Crawford County, with a lot of history in the past to support that perception. It’s an even more loaded statement when you’re talking about it in the context of a former state legislator, a former lieutenant governor candidate, a possible secretary of state candidate, and a supposed (formerly) rising star in the Indiana Democratic Party.

    Whether it is deserved or undeserved here, that perception just attached itself to Dennie Oxley in a big way. Already, commenters over at the Courier-Journal’s website are speculating about the identity of the passenger that suddenly wasn’t.

    None of that’s helpful to Oxley, at least as he issues statements of contrition and hopes to salvage the remains of his broader political future (as something other than a state legislator or a lackey to Pat Bauer; at least he won’t be a placeholder candidate to be sold down the river by Dan Parker).

    This can be swept under the rug yet, even with all of the attention from the newspapers.

    Just wait and see. I’d love to be proven wrong.

    This post was tagged under: 2010 Election, Dennie Ray Oxley II, Indiana Politics, Shady Democrat Doings

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