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Two-car crash leads to injuries, DUII arrest

Deputies arrest 10 during crackdown on impaired driving

Two men were injured in a two-vehicle crash early Tuesday in Cedar Mill that led to the arrest of a Beaverton man suspected of driving under the influence of intoxicants.

Christopher Pederson, 48, of Portland, and Brent Vinsonhaler, 32, of Beaverton, were hospitalized at Providence St. Vincent's Medical Center in Beaverton.

Pederson remained in the hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

Vinsonhaler, whose injuries were relatively minor, was released, but not before he was arrested on accusations of driving under the influence of intoxicants and fourth-degree assault, said Sgt. David Thompson of the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

Vinsonhaler was driving west on Southwest Barnes Road around 12:50 a.m. Tuesday, when he drifted into the oncoming lane of traffic. Pedersen was driving east on Barnes when he reported seeing the car Vinsonhaler was driving coming toward him.

Pederson turned into the center turn lane to avoid a collision, but Vinsonhaler's car also turned and struck Pederson's vehicle in the side.

Deputies investigating the crash determined Vinsonhaler was intoxicated and arrested him, Thompson said.

His arrest was one of 10 recent DUII arrests in the past four days by the sheriff's office, which is participating in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's 'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' campaign.

It is one of nearly 10,000 other law enforcement agencies nationwide in support of the intensive crackdown on impaired driving between Aug. 19 and Sept. 5.

Even with harsher penalties and thorough driver's education, approximately 1.5 million drivers nationally were arrested in 2009 for driving under the influence of intoxicants, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

That same year, administration data show 10,839 people died in crashes in which a driver or motorcycle rider was intoxicated at or above the legal limit. Drivers aged 21 to 24 years old made up the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities.

Over the last several years, Washington County Sheriff Rob Gordon has made DUII enforcement a priority, Thompson said.

On average, the sheriff's office makes about 1,200 DUII arrests each year. Even with increased education, awareness, and enforcement, that number does not seem to drop, he noted, adding that each arrest is a potential life saved from the consequences of a DUII-involved crash.

The sheriff's office will be intensifying enforcement during the three-week crackdown. Because twice as many alcohol-impaired accidents occur on the weekend and four times as many occur at night, patrol enforcement will be at peak during these high-risk times.

To see details of recent DUII arrests in Washington County, visit www.co.washington.or.us/sheriff/ .